"I believe in limited government, and the 20th century has been the century of government. The data is uniform. The government has failed at every single task it has set out to do, with the exception of waging war."
Clarke begins the story by pointing out that a cubic mile of sea water contains millions of tons of dissolved minerals - how best to get at them, when there are only about fifty pounds of gold per cubic mile?
This device comes from the short story The Man Who Ploughed The Sea, which was published in 1957 with the publication of Clarke's third collection of short stories Tales From The White Hart.
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