The Strategy of Raw Materials: A Study of America in Peace and War

By Brooks Emeny | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
RUBBER, FIBERS, AND HIDES

RUBBER

RUBBER is by all odds the most important of the strategic raw materials belonging to the non-mineral group. This is the case not only because it is indispensable to modern mechanized warfare, but also because of our complete dependence upon foreign sources of crude and the fact that the average annual demands of our industry equal approximately 70 per cent of world consumption. Under ordinary circumstances such a huge dependence would indicate a highly vulnerable point of weakness. But on account of the size of our stocks on hand, arising from our enormous consumption of crude, and the progress which has been made in the development of adequate though more costly substitutes, our military position and security in case of war would be quite tenable, even granting a complete shutting off of normal imports.

The largest item of consumption for rubber in the United States is in motor vehicle tires, which account for practically 83 per cent of the whole.1 This amount, furthermore, is equal to practically 50 per cent of the world's total output. Next in importance come mechanical and hard rubber goods which likewise are widely consumed in the manufacture of automobiles. Of the remaining uses of rubber, footgear, clothing, rubber insulation for wires and cables, druggist and medical

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1
For complete table of consumption of crude rubber by classes of products, see Commerce Yearbook, Annual, U. S. Department of Commerce, Government Printing Office, Washington, Part I, 1930, p. 448. Statistics are based on information received from the Rubber Manufacturers Association, Inc.

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