Full text: Modern business geography

The United States as a Market 
raise some raw silk, at least enough so that it would not have to import 
from these countries. 
Why the United States does not supply its own market for tea. 
Americans consume annually about $20,000,000 worth of tea, or about 
a pound per person. The case is ike that of raw silk. Cheap hand 
labor is needed not only to prune the tea bushes to a height of five feet 
or less, so that the leaves can be easily picked, but especially to pick 
the leaves and cure them over fires and in the sun. Hence the tea 
industry is confined to such places as India, China, Ceylon, and Japan, 
which not only have abundant moisture during long warm summers, 
but are long-settled regions of dense population. 
The goods which the United States might make if sufficient skill 
were employed include many chemicals, drugs, dyes, and medicines 
bought from Germany before the World War. They also include 
beautiful silks from France, and fine woolens and cottons from England. 
The problem of chemicals. Germany’s advantage in the chemical 
industries, as we have seen, arose largely from her attention to chemi- 
cal education. It also depends partly on the fact that when a country 
once gets a good start, it is hard for others to overtake it. Notwith- 
standing the advantage which the World War gave to our industries, 
it is difficult to keep German goods from ousting the American product 
even in our own market. 
Why we import textiles. The fact that Americans who can afford 
them purchase silks from France and broadcloths and lawns from 
England does not arise from superior technical schools such as those 
which give Germany such an advantage in the chemical industries, 
but from skill developed in the school of experience. For centuries 
both France and England have devoted great energy to improving 
their machinery and their methods of treating textiles. The United 
States has been so busy in making its production as large as possible 
that it has paid relatively less attention to making the quality as high 
as possible. Nevertheless, the quality of our goods is improving. 
For instance, our manufactures of silk were six times as valuable in 
1914 as in 1879, while our imports had increased scarcely 50 per cent. 
In the same period our manufactures of wool doubled in value, while 
the imports of woolen cloth diminished. Since the World War there 
have been still further changes of the same kind. In other words, we 
are learning to supply our own needs, even in the finer grades of cloth.

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