Some products are made of synthetic rubber while

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Some products are made of synthetic rubber while others are made out of complete natural rubber Production: comes out of a rubber tree. Influenced by economic decisions. If cut a piece of bark from rubber tree, it oozes latex out. Native originally to Brazil, moved around the world as a commercial crop A lot is produced in SE Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia) Labor intensive, low-wage undertaking to cultivate rubber trees Grown commercially in parts of Africa Latex is used for lots of products: get latex out of tree by tapping it (cut tree's bark diagonally but not too deeply, put a container at the lower end of the cut, and collects tree's blood-latex which is ready to be manufactured, come back and shave another cut really close to the previous cut to have it start bleeding again and repeat the process) After collect the latex, keep it liquid as latex or create a "blanket": different qualities, about the size of a desk, off-white, and spongy Many different ways of organizing rubber production: individual small planters (extension services are offered to them: frustrated that they won't shape up) Have to clear land and plant the tree: face many decisions like what kind of trees to plant Small holder may be getting a scientific clone or be self-seeding Land clearing: sometimes lead to large fires Plant trees at specific distances from each other (at recommendation from rubber system, and plant all at the same age) Prior to tapping, farmers ensure that trees are looked after as best as possible (determine whether to use pesticides etc.) Small holder is intercropping: in between rubber trees planting food crops because they need to eat while the rubber trees are growing: taking nutrients and other things from the soil If tap tree too early, it won't grow as fast as it normally would have: let it get to a reasonable size before beginning to tap it Plantations: start tapping trees after 7 years and use a nice stainless steel container specifically manufactured for collecting latex Small holder: start tapping trees after 10 years and could be using a makeshift container like half a coconut shell The more frequently you tap the tree, you'll get less latex over the lifetime of the tree Blanket will be ground up later on to become part of a component of a rubber tire (already firmed up) Could let latex coagulate naturally but not a good way because could be eaten by bugs: best way is to use acid Plantation: do two sides of the tree 4 times for 7 years Slaughter tapping: stimulate rubber tree to produce the last rush of latex using chemicals and then cut it down and sell it for timber Small holders can keep rubber trees for over 50 years Bias of small holder's behavior: get more now at the sacrifice of getting more later Adulteration question: -Could see some intentional adulteration of blanket: throw some dirt/leaves in the middle of blanket and pour more latex over it- hope that you'll be paid the same as you would for good latex

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