High Copper Prices Have Some Shocking Consequences

from the darwin dept

In many less developed nations, mobile telephony had a leg up on fixed-line systems as it is far easier for operators to guard their base station sites than to try to stop people from digging up their wiring and sell it for scrap. However, with copper prices soaring on heavy demand from China, people in the first world are getting in on the act, too -- with some disastrous consequences. Two guys in Masschusetts were fatally electrocuted when they tried to steal some copper wire from an unoccupied electric plant, while earlier, two people in Arkansas met a similar fate when they tried to steal wire from utility poles. Telecom operators may not care so much about people dying, but the problem of theft remains, so they're looking at other solutions. For instance, one Chinese operator says it will use ethernet in rural areas, rather than copper wiring, to avoid the problem. Meanwhile, some US politicians are trying to pass new laws to crack down on scrap metal theft, and wiring theft in particular. But if people are ignoring the risks posed by attempting to steal copper from power lines and plants, it seems rather unlikely the prospect of more jail time will act as much of a deterrent.

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  1. identicon
    Casper, 4 Apr 2007 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Good

    "Most currently illegal drugs would drop in price by a factor of 10-100 if they were decriminalized and sold at cost plus a tax."

    How do you figure that? Right now the markets are flooded with cheap illegal drugs. Meth costs very little, and a difference of a few dollars won't change the fact that the users are unemployed and have to steal for money.

    This is not a matter of legalizing drugs being a better idea the having them illegal, but rather people like to feel better without restrictions. If meth was legal and sold everywhere, the problem would multiply by a factor several times equal to the amount distributed. If it was not illegal there would be no reason for people not not try it. You may call it "Puritan posturing" but in reality people are far to stupid to make good decisions on their own when it comes to a mind altering substance.

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