In ancient Hebrew and Arabic, the words for war and peace derive from the words for salt and bread. It is well known salt was incredibly important in the pre-modern world. Roman soldiers jealously guarded the salt fields near Palestine and controlled the caravan routes that brought this commodity westward. In fact, Roman soldiers were partially paid in salt which is where we get the word 'soldier' from the Latin sal dare (to give salt) and the word 'salary.' In the Middle Ages, nations such as England built their foreign policies around the imperative of securing southern sea-salt supplies. The phrase "to be worth one's salt" and the compliment "salt of the earth" arose out of the high value of salt.
Of course in modern times, though it is still incredibly important, salt is substantially cheaper because of its abundant supply. My question is: What commodity today has such importance and high value in day to day life? There is an obvious answer. But there is also another resource that may be in short supply sooner than we think that could drastically affect the global economy...Comment with your guesses and thoughts!
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