Thursday, February 21, 2008

Steel's Future

This has been a glint in the eye of the commodities folks for a long time... but thanks to Steel Strip World for pointing out this story in the Guardian today: New era for steel as London launches futures, about the opening of a futures market in cetain steel products. It really is big news which still has regional impacts. Anyone know if the Chicago Merc plans to do anything similar?

I was going to title this post just "Plastics". Anyone know the reference I was thinking of?

It does say something about the region if big news in the steel industry does not rise to the interest of local news. We'll see if we can wake up the biz editors: ... - . . .-.. .. ... ... - .. .-.. .-.. .... . .-. .

7 Comments:

Blogger Burgher Jon said...

I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Plastics.

I enjoy the blog and read almost every post using google reader, so I don't think I've ever left a comment before. I just wanted to point out you have at least one regular reader that doesn't show up in your usage statistics.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

..and then it goes "There is a great future in plastics."

thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It does say something about the region if big news in the steel industry does not rise to the interest of local news."

Great point. And one I think is related to the coverage (or lack thereof) of the billion-dollar investment in the Clairton Works. For the record, that amounts to about three times as much money than the amount being poured into the Penguins arena.

To be sure, break-away goals and Stanley Cups are more glamourous than metallurgy, so I am loathe to allege some kind of conspiracy. But it does seem clear that the local powers that be (media, institutions, etc.) have a powerful investment in tales of local COOPERATION. Of hearkening back to the golden age of the Renaissance, when we all joined hands and saved the city from darkness at noon. From ourselves. From things like... the Clairton Works. Which of course is a powerful tale. More powerful, apparently, than a bunch of rich guys deciding to dump a billion dollars into a steel mill.

Why? I don't know. Maybe it's bacause a billion dollars for a steel mill seems like such a throw-back. The local narrative has become one that tells a tale of newness and vitality. There are no stories anymore, only chapters in a larger meta-story about transformation. A $300 million Penguins arena is important, most of all, because some day the team might win the Stanley Cup, which will get our skyline on television, which will of course convince smart people everywhere, once and for all, that this is a Major League City.

Our saviors had little to do with Clairton. Which makes you wonder. If US Steel had asked for the money, they almost certainly would have gotten something. Even if it were a mere hundred million, that would have brought out the ticker-tape parades and all the rest. Maybe there is more to that backroom dealing than I know. But from here, I admire US Steel for paying its own way--if that's really what happened.

In the end, same with the futures. It;s hard to see how it fits in the accepted script for local "progress." If there were a futures market for high-end condos, I'll bet granite countertops to ingots that the local editorial board would have been in a more celebratory mood.

Sam M

Thursday, February 21, 2008 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

SAM?! We were going to send out virtual search parties for your virtual self.

indirectly you remind me.. funkhouser has been in the news of late. May be my fodder for tomorrow.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 6:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steel is still here, eh? Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

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Friday, February 22, 2008 12:02:00 AM  
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