Full text: Modern business geography

Modern Business Geography 
Where tin is obtained. Tin is imported to coat our pans, cans, 
and many other iron articles to keep them from rusting. Part of our 
supply comes from Bolivia, but the greater part comes from the Malay 
Precious stones. The great value of the precious stones purchased 
each year ($76,000,000 in some years) shows how rich our market is. 
No other market takes so many. Nearly all of the world’s diamonds 
are mined in South Africa and the majority are cut in Amsterdam. 
Our chief imports from Chile. Nitrate of soda is brought in ship- 
loads from the desert ports of northern Chile. Chile has long supplied 
the world with this important fertilizer, which furnishes nitrogen for 
fields, but now Norway and other countries are taking nitrogen out 
of the air by electricity. Before the Chilean nitrate deposits become 
exhausted, our country should supply its own market. 
Potash. Most of the potash, or potassium chloride, is taken from 
the famous deposits of Stassfurt in central Germany. We consume 
it chiefly in fertilizers, but also in making gunpowder, matches, fire- 
works, and many kinds of chemicals. It is likely that some of the 
dried-up western lakes or similar beds in the old rocks of Texas and 
the great kelp beds of the Pacific coast will sometime yield enough 
potash to make us independent of Germany. 
Each year we import several hundred million dollars’ worth of 
handmade goods that would be unduly expensive if manufactured at 
home. They include chiefly raw silk, tea, toys, and hand embroider- 
ies. Practically all of these could be produced at home, but not with 
profit; for wages are higher in the United States than in any other 
great manufacturing country. Some of the imported goods, such as 
embroideries from Switzerland, Japan, China, and Madeira, and laces 
from Ireland and France, have been imitated on American machines, 
but not with great success. 
Why the United States does not supply its market for raw silk. Al- 
though the white mulberry tree on which the silkworm thrives grows 
well in large parts of the United States, silk is not produced, because it 
requires a great amount of very cheap labor for a few weeks in 
the spring, when the eggs are hatching and the silkworms have to be 
carefully fed and tended. In China, Japan, Italy, and even parts of 
France, women and children do this work for a few cents a day. If 
labor-saving machines could be devised to gather the mulberry leaves, 
feed the worms, and clean the trays, the United States might perhaps

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