Born with a Copper Spoon
A Global History of Copper, 1830–1980
Over the past two centuries, industrial societies hungry for copper – essential for light, power, and communication – have demanded ever-increasing quantities of the metal. Born with a Copper Spoon examines how the metal has been produced, distributed, controlled, and sold on a global scale. However, this is not simply a narrative of ever-increasing and deepening global connections. It is also about periods of deglobalization, fragmentation, and attempts to sever connections. Throughout history, copper production has spawned its own practices, technologies, and a constantly changing political economy. Large-scale production has affected ecologies, states, and companies, while creating and even destroying local communities dependent on volatile commodity markets. Former president of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda once remarked that Zambians were “born with a copper spoon in our mouths,” but few societies managed to profit from copper’s abundance.
From copper cartels and the futures market to the consequences of resource nationalism, Born with a Copper Spoon delivers a global perspective on one of the world’s most important metals.