Material World: The Key Resources Underpinning Modern Economies with Ed Conway

(Conversation recorded on May 7th, 2024)  

In contrast to ‘The Great Simplification’, some might call the events of the last few hundred years a ‘Great Complexification’ in terms of relationships, governance, supply chains, and many other human activities. Today’s conversation with economics journalist Ed Conway focuses on the six essential resources that underpin our modern economies –  sand, salt, iron, copper, oil, and lithium - and dives into the (often unseen) environmental and human costs of extracting them, as well as the surprisingly fragile global supply chains they fuel.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at