The grim economic picture darkened further today with news that the price of ink for printer cartridges has reached an all time high of $1000 a barrel on the New York futures exchange. The world’s most traded commodity has seen a steady rise in price over recent months due to supply problems, increased demand from China and a failure of consumers to send their empty cartridges to the charity recycling centre and just leaving them in their desk drawer instead.
The computer industry urged the public not to panic and to only print out essential documents while they set about finding alternative ways for children to get colouring-in pictures that they print out from the Disney website. In some parts of the world, people are having to print out documents in blue or even green ink, continually having to pause to over-ride the irritating instruction from their bleeping printer to change the black ink cartridge.
A statement from Hewlett Packard conceded that much of the increased cost may have to be passed on to the consumer claiming, ‘It’s only right and fair that computer printing ink and peripherals suppliers sustain their profits in this area to fund further research…’ The rest of the statement was illegible as the print became too faint.
So dependent is the global economy on printer ink, that there are concerns that the United States may take military action against crude ink producers in the Middle East unless the situation improves. ‘You know what the invasion of Iraq was really about, don’t you?’ said Spike Harris of the Stop the War Coalition. ‘Printer ink, yeah! PresidINK Bush is in the pay of the big ink companies, and the whole lot of ’em have got blood on their hands. And black ink obviously.’