Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The gilded monuments of princes

Are also subject to the laws of supply and demand, as the Greeks are finding out;
ATHENS—A global boom in commodity and scrap metal prices isn't making Andreas Varelas, deputy mayor of the Greek capital, very happy these days.
Although the city's recycling division, which he heads, has more than tripled its annual profits in the past two years selling scrap metal on the world market, the boom also has a cost: thieves have been pilfering the city's bronze statues and melting them down for cash.
Busts of the creator of Zorba the Greek, El Greco, José Marti and Simón Bolívar, along with various war heroes and resistance fighters have gone missing, presumably sold for scrap.  As well as manhole covers, storm drains, wire cables and church bells.
 ...says Mr. Varelas. "When you think that bronze sells for a few thousand euros a ton, that creates an incentive. One of these busts represents a day's work for the thieves."

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