What Happened To The Paper Shortage?
I take in too many newspapers, in order not to be left behind on something. The result is that I have difficulty getting them all ready for garbage day. Very little is real news, and not much is original opinion about what news there is; in fact, most of the "opinions" are very predictable, correlated to whatever newspaper is printing them. The majority of the paper surface seems to be advertising, including numerous full-pages sprawls that are so image-oriented one has to guess what is being sold. One thing is sure: it makes foolishness of all the fuss some years back about a paper shortage, and the accompanying urgings to recycle, or just to use less. Maybe you understand how this shortage became a surplus, but I sure don't.
Paper is a commodity, and demand brings supply, which can, I understand, lead to surplus (unless there's a shortage, right?). Another commodity is oil, which seems perpetually threatened with extinction, if you listen to the right voices. The resulting price fluctuations have the potential to change our way of life, and to determine whether the U.S. will be the top dog, or will it be Russia? Between these two, oil and paper, there is a drastic difference in that no more oil is being produced, as it requires many millions of years of geological activity, while trees for paper are growing all the time, assuming we don't cut them down all at once.
Surpluses and shortages bring us to the economics of the market system. This is just as interesting as any topic of the day. "Free" enterprise apparently includes the freedom to squash competitors and create a monopoly -- which of course your competitors were "free" to do as well -- paying off politicians in the process, if that helps. Whatever it was all about, the "paper shortage" was interesting, and, I must say, had some lasting effects. My wife still makes sure all the toilet paper rolls end up in the right bin.