No, not an article on the superiority of wool over cotton in winter. If you want another generic page waster like that, go to any other prepper publication that advertises MRE’s and FLIR scopes. They will be happy to present several articles on that. I love wool, and I still need plenty of cotton clothing to go with that in the winter. No, I just used that title to get you all worked up, and because it amused me. And it amused me to get you all riled. And I’m easily amused. Let’s talk about the grim future of cotton production.
This is not an alarmist screed decrying the impending demise of cotton because of Gore Warming. My only point is that we will soon see the end of CHEAP cotton. Perhaps the US will pass laws supplementing the growth of hemp, and we can all eat cheap hemp oil and wear cheap hemp clothing, but don’t hold your breath of that one. Right now, cotton is king for plant fiber and that likely won’t change. The default setting in this country seems to be to ONLY tightly embrace ancient ways and materials and never truly innovating.
That is easy to figure out. With everyone losing their jobs, nobody is going to volunteer theirs to be on the chopping block. An old inefficient method is preferable when that is your job ( even computing is pretty decrepit right now, the transistor being older than the Korean War ). Every time you say, hey, promising technique X will save the day, well, how has that been working out for everyone so far? Let me repeat, as you screech white noise and have your hands over your ears, peak energy means declining energy means entropy means system collapse means nothing saves the day.
When you are in a system decline, innovation is not allowed, if it is even possible. You don’t have the resources to hold together what you already have, so there are no resources to do things differently. The will does NOT create the means. I WILL that I’ll sail across the ocean. But since I don’t have the MEANS to buy a bigger boat, I use a tiny one meant for a pond, get swamped in a storm, and die. Positive thinking usually means, in a declining resource situation, that you are positively a moron.
Now, if we can return to the subject at hand, hmmm? Most of today’s cotton is grown in three environments. Hot, crowded and dry. Who thought it was a great idea to grow cotton in Arizona? In southern California? In Uzbekistan? In west China? In Oz? It sounds wonderful, depleting water to “make the desert bloom”. Until the water runs out. Now, I don’t want to sound like some Gott Damn Gore Warmer. I do not like Gore Warming, Sam I am. I try not to hate too much on those that do, at least in the doomer sphere.
I’m not talking about the politically correct jagbag humpers wanting to tax me or to control my “wetlands” ( defined as anywhere there is any rain ever-thanks pant loads, scumbag EPA lapdogs ), the useful idiots. I’m speaking of the survival writers who primarily focus on Gore Warming as the reason the end is nigh. I think they are full of crap. BUT! Neither of us knows for sure, and we both preach the same message of Food First. Too hot or too cold, you’ll need food storage to supplement that failing glittery unicorn permaculture patch you thought would feed you.
I don’t think Gore Warming is causing drought and irrigation failures. I think overpopulation and energy decline is. But even if I’m wrong, the food situation of Extreme Dire Crap from the 1970’s just prior to the Green Revolution saving our asses has returned. And this time, there won’t be a Green Revolution ( 99% of the gains from GMO’s have been financial for a few mega-agri-corp’s, so don’t look to pull that rabbit out of the hat ). Obviously, this is a screaming klaxon warning to over stock on food. Got wheat?
But to the point of today’s article, it means most cotton production is in danger. Extreme danger. More people need more food. We are pretty much unable to bring any more land under cultivation, which means cotton starts to compete with food for land use. Cotton brings in money to very impoverished areas, and more people also need more clothing, so this isn’t something that will happen until there is no other choice. Famine bitches don’t have any boobs anyway, so they don’t need much clothing. But overlords do control land use, so the land WILL grow cotton until a food lead revolution dictates otherwise.
This means that cotton is produced until the breaking point, which means it is business as usual until suddenly, we see massive shortages and huge price hikes. That is the only way change is forced into being. By mob, after all hope is lost. I can see you scratching your head in amazement. Clothes be super cheap, yo! Why is homey all wigging out? Not sure if you noticed, but the norms of the industrial revolution are breaking down, hard. Cloth used to expensive enough that England founded an empire on its profits. An empire bigger than America’s.
Not that this is a completely fair comparison. They are two different kinds of empire. The Brits occupied and improved countries and the US only controlled the appointment of a local dictator, then profited off loaning them the money to buy infrastructure from American companies. At one time, now long ago, the US might have defacto controlled more area, but I don’t think you can say they worked as hard or invested as much as the Limey’s. In terms of effort, the Americans were ( yes, WERE, past tense ) lazy, greedy slackers building empire.
Will you be able to afford expensive clothing? By that time, you are unemployed or have severely cut hours, the price of medical insurance is 110% of the median wages, gas is $10 a gallon and you haven’t had a raise since the Obammy administration. Clothing will be relatively unaffordable, no longer being the mass production item it used to be. Kind of like quality shoes are now, but worse. In the end, both ethanol and cotton land WILL be returned to food crops. That is an inescapable trend. You must stockpile now, for the rest of your life.
Does this suck? I know, you’d rather be stockpiling freeze dried food and AR’s. I would too ( not that I’m crazy about AR’s, but they are both really cheap and good ghost guns right now ). Want in one hand and defecate ( after a night of spicy Mexican consumption ) in the other and see which runs over full first. Instead of toys, my budget dictates necessities first. In a warm clime I could get away with just shorts ( accompanied by skin cancer ). Here in the high desert, I need lots of clothing. It is a small price to pay for less population.
And I’m not just talking about stocking up at the thrift store right now. You need socks, with all the walking you will be doing. Underwear is nice, unless you enjoy the prospect of bringing home the soiled underwear from combat patrols and trying to salvage them. What about all the outdoor and tactical gear you think you need? This is a small problem right now, and easily and cheaply remedied if you catch it before it becomes a big problem ( notice I didn’t even introduce the trade war and tariffs as a possible extra component to rising prices? ).
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It seems that every cotton garment that I’ve got over the last 3 decades was foreign produced, but I have no idea if the cotton was imported from here to their for the making of said garment. I could see the hemp fiber market taking off a little more at some point however.ReplyDelete
Speaking of wool, I was reading up on this topic the other day, and according to the one article, once it absorbs more than 30% its weight in moisture, it stops insulating. But for a natural fiber, it’s the best. The less you wash it the better though, for you will eventually wash away that lanolin that provides those hygroscopic properties (You can retreat the wool though). I read that once you wear one of those wool sport t-shirts that they sell now, you will never want to wear cotton ever again (I’m halfway tempted to get one now).
If I were more motivated, I’d get a spinning wheel and a few sheep. The local Alpacas just calved. I hear that the wool from those rascals is quite nice.
The lanolin must not wash away then, because I wash the wool socks every two weeks in the winter. And I wear them up to nine months a year. They stay toasty warm up to and through getting holes in them.Delete
I think it’s a gradual process Jim. With socks you would probably never see this, because they would wear out long before they would lose their lanolin.Delete
I have heard others say though, that they wash or dry clean their high quality wool blankets as little as possible. And ideally, they would never wash them, preferring to place a sheet between themselves and the blanket, or the blanket and the ground. Makes sense to me, and if I’m ever bold enough to take one of my Hudson Bay or Ralph Lauren blankets out to the woods, I’ll certainly be following that advice.
I'm sure you are right. My socks only last about the one year. If I wear after that they have huge holes, which might be what I'm blaming for not being as warm. I do try to limit wool washing, just from the PITA factor. So, inadvertently I'm doing it right :)Delete
Correct Jim. One must consider some more of those macro concerns as well. Almost all textile industries related businesses decamped from middle america. It may be a high 80 90% of all clothing elements are imported, and from long supply chain sourcing. A pack of underwears is equivalent to a fast food dinner, so sacrifice those gut bomb burgers and stockpile them skivies.ReplyDelete
I request skivvies as X-Mas gifts. Can't have enough.Delete
With cheery patterns, they would make splendid wrapping as well!Delete
Yes, the stocking of clothing and related items are high up in priority of importance. Your body will doubly need to be protected from the elements AND hazards even more so during stressors of a collapse, die off, apocalypse,etc. I stock clothes and gear that I don't use in my locale now, but will be critical in a potential extreme cold terrain scenario. I hit up Sportsmans guide catalog company for closeout and mil surplus items. Those tall super insulated muck boots will be delightful to have when hunkering in a wet frigid trench during the incoming shelling barrages.ReplyDelete
Those insulated boots are rated at -40, much better than Mickey Mouse boots which I think are only -20. And the MM boots are twice the price-IF you can find them in your size. The muck boots are so warm, at -15 I could only wear cotton socks with them.Delete
Good points - cheap now, impossible later, kind of like an ex-wife.ReplyDelete
I try to only buy stuff I actually use (now that I have my FLIR).
When they come out with a Hello Kitty FLIR, I'll seriously think of buying one. "Like an ex-wife". Ha!Delete
I was listening to this doctor dude on coast to coast am last night. He was discussing the history of antibiotics, and apparently, a big rise in super bugs that are resistant to current treatments. He mentioned something about sepsis (Infection of the blood, which I’d imagine will be quite common post collapse). What really caught my attention was the discussion of tetanus, leading to lockjaw. Apparently it’s difficult to imagine a more gruesome death, as your face is paralyzed in a fixed death grin, and you are slowly strangled to death. I gotta say, that really rattled me!ReplyDelete
Moral of the story. Stock those fish antibiotics, and be up to date on that tetanus shot. Sure, they’re only good for about 5 years, but you want to have that advantage heading into the collapse. And for the religious among us, pray that you never come down with any of the above mentioned ailments.
Seems kind of an old worry. Did we need another book on it?Delete
Yeah, I actually wasn’t trying to plug the book, but was thinking that there was more info on the topic at his website, but I probably posted the wrong link. Yes, it’s an old worry, as we all know what life without antibiotics will be like. That tetanus story though, scared the living shit out of me! First thing, next free shipping promo at Bud K, I’m getting some fish antibiotics. I suppose it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to learn a few natural substitutes as well.Delete
Best back-up is getting healthier. I like mega-dosing on Vitamin C, to start with.Delete
True, but little good it will do you if you get an infection. But one could argue that your ability to fight an infection is increased through better health. But something tells me that the first thing to go post collapse is one’s health. Unless of course you have a widely varied diet (Wheat is good, and will prevent starvation, but in and of itself, not enough. And many would argue that it is the cause of many ailments today). Vitamin stockpiles are good as well, but vitamin supplements, and absorption of vitamins via food, are two different things.Delete
Since most foods are vitamin deficient from our farming methods, were else but supplements? Yes, you are correct on the absorption. And the undesirability of any one food to be enough. We have little in the way of options, however. I'm just rolling the dice that better health is better than soon to disappear antibiotics. If your health is better now, the dip in that condition is better accounted for.Delete
Lord Bison, worry not about your tightie whities. Plenty of "white gold" in USA.ReplyDelete
21MM bales produced and only 3.5MM consumed directly. All the rest exported (& then some imported back as finished goods).
Even if the 1/4 of crop grown in Texas vanished we would still have 16MM bales available. Unlike Cali, most W Texas cotton is actually dryland, thus no irrigation costs. Farmers here and OK would still grow it as a needed rotation crop in the cotton, wheat(stocker cattle), sorghum cycle.
I know of potentially thousands of acres of former cotton ground now in pasture that could be brought back into periodic production. Not best yielding ground but respectable.
Do I hear faint echoes of that old tune "Dixie"?
🎼Way down South in the land of cotton...
May I suggest a possible biz venture for you? Round up a herd of Nevada mustang mares and breed them to jack donkeys for a crop of mules to send us since petroleum is supposed to end....yesterday
We can start producing the cloth and clothing stateside and employ all the soon to be unemployed baristas and college grads with mediaeval French poetry degrees.
Our friends in Europe will have to go back to wool and linen I suppose. Not so much cotton grown there. Some in N.Africa/Egypt, but I suspect growning FOOD will be topic one for those "r" selection breeders.
Here are the US cotton numbers. Enjoy.
I think a reasonable question would be, do we import more Chinese cotton in finished goods then we grow? I seem to remember the western Chinese desert was irrigated for cotton and it was something like 10% of global production. Don't quote me on that-going by memory. China is 33 million production, but I'm unsure about that one area.Delete
Okay, makes sense. I recall a story on fish caught in the North Sea, shipped to China for cutting, another stop or two, then back to Scotland. Of course, in the end, it is still the end of CHEAP cotton. Even if I'm wrong on the cotton supply end ( the trend towards more food less fiber ), the lack of cheap labor in China ( and, do we even have factories for that anymore? ) still queers the paradigm.Delete
Far out. Got Rice?
Is that why we only do computer simulations anymore?Delete