They say you should always save for a rainy day or a nuclear apocalypse. So it should come as no surprise that world governments are stockpiling on a bunch of items like fresh water and food. But these 7 items may mean the difference between life or death.
During WWII, Japan took control of Burma, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, thereby cutting 90 percent of the natural rubber supply shipment to Western countries. Rubber was essential for military clothing, aircrafts and tanks. Without them, losing the war was imminent. That's why President Roosevelt created the Rubber Reserve Company in 1940 to create synthetic rubber in case of a shortage.
Blimps, which require helium, were used as a form of air defense back in the day. So the U.S. government created the Federal Helium Reserve near Amarillo, TX in 1921 to store as much helium as possible just in case. Besides, helium also makes a perfect coolant and can be used in scientific research and construction of technology like computer chips.
Law enforcement organizations like the London Metropolitan Police in the UK continue to stockpile on rubber bullets, aka Baton rounds, to help keep riots under control. In most cases the bullets hurt but don't kill unless someone gets shot at close range. But clearly, anyone can understand why these bullets are preferable to conventional lead ones.
China has 10 million tons of cotton. That's the biggest stock worldwide. The plan was to keep prices for raw materials for their textile mills low and help farmers gain income. Unfortunately, storing cotton can be expensive. Now they're automatically losing money whenever they sell the cotton which they originally bought at a higher cost, at mere market prices.
The average Chinese eats 85 lbs of pork a year. But in 2007, blue ear pig disease killed millions of pigs in that country forcing the government to create a pork reserve of live and frozen pigs. This way, when the prices got too low, the government could buy more pork, making it difficult to get and more expensive. When the price of the pork became too high the government sold them to make a bigger profit.
The U.S. can rely on the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to provide the population with life-saving medicine in the event of a terrorist attack, viral outbreak or natural disaster thanks to the buttload of medical supplies it has been stockpiling.
Sanctioned by the Canadian government, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers owns about 75 percent of maple syrup. In fact, Canadian syrup producers who fail to meet their quota have their maple syrup seized. Some producers compare this 'federation' to a mafia.