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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16981/its-a-phosporous-life/

It’s a Phosphorus Life

May 17, 2011 by

Most of life these days consists of sharing amazing stories of the cleaning power of phosphorous or TSP, which the government is trying to ban just to make life miserable for us with the excuse that doing so will make for happier fish (who are probably down there eating on clean plates and drinking from clear crystal). A friend washed his old running shoes, and, to his amazement, they came clean. He is a runner and now he will saved hundreds of dollars in future running shoe purchases. Another friend is thrilled to be wearing white tee shirts again. I delight in re-washing in the sink things that came from the local laundry and reveling in the dirty sink water the washing leaves behind. Another friend is considering holding a dinner party now that his family’s dishes are clean for the first time in a year. And so on it goes. It’s a new clean life with a box of TSP.

Karen DeCoster has a hilarious post about Amazon’s reporting of what people who buy TSP also bought. Ron Paul’s books are among the items!

If you have purchased TSP in recent days, consider yourselves super lucky to be among the few, the proud, the clean.


J. Murray May 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

I purchased a box at Home Depot and it works wonders. The glasses are still a bit cloudy, but I’ve discovered that’s because I’m using too much detergent in the load and need to cut back on it a bit. The laundry does work wonders and some nasty armpit stains that were in my white workout shirts have vanished.

Virginia Llorca May 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm

It’s amazing how very upfront many of you are when it comes to personal confessions. I had no idea so many in the male population ever gave a thought to their stained armpits. This TSP thread continues to enthrall me only because these are things I have known my whole (very long) life. Household chemicals = lares and penates

Freedom Fighter May 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm

It’s amazing how very upfront you are when it comes to personal confessions. I had no idea so many in the female population ever thought that males don’t care about personal hygiene and don’t mind being dirty. I thought females, who don’t like being dirty and stinking, would at least give males the same credit.

I’m glad I learned that females think males are happy dirty slobs who don’t care if they stink and stain their shirts.

Virginia Llorca May 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm

You dug awfully deep for this one. Too bad there is no one around to put a smile on your face.

I am completely unable to understand how you can possibly derive this hostility from every thing I say.

This is really not the proper venue for your personal rants.

Ned Netterville May 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm

When I went to school we males were not permitted to major in Home Economics so we missed the course on Lares and Penates, who were also omitted from Roman and Greek Mythology 201.

Paul Kroenke May 17, 2011 at 8:34 am

Worldwide, we are running out of phosphorous (maybe 30 years of it left), and it’s a major component in fertilizer. So if they want to grow enough corn for ethanol (but not for food) they’re going to need to limit its use to fertilizer rather than cleaner.


J. Murray May 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

Maybe in it’s traditional sources. Phosphorous is a base element. It doesn’t just go away and isn’t used up. This is typically an error when dealing with “peak” anything, it assumes that since the current methods of production are starting to deplete that whatever is being obtained will also deplete. Phosphorous can be reclaimed from organic waste, for instance. If mined phosphorous starts to become scarce and more expensive, this will trigger increased development of reclamation techniques. Water treatment plants would be a common source of reclamation since phosphorous is part of human waste, as would organic food waste. The only real limiting factor on the phosphorous stock is energy, which if we include nuclear and solar in the mix, won’t run out until the Sun goes red giant and engulfs the planet.

Colin Phillips May 17, 2011 at 9:29 am

“they” are going to need to limit it’s use?
I think “they” already have. From the article you linked:
“In the past 14 months, the price of the raw material – phosphate rock – has surged by more than 700 per cent to more than $367 (£185) per tonne.”

Someone smart figured out the whole “we can only mine so much phosphorous” deal, around 14 months ago, I’m guessing, and bought themselves a nice little stockpile.

That achieves something marvelous. Instantly, businesses around the world get the signal to cut back on their phosphorous use, or do without it altogether. The businesses who were “wasting” phosphorous get the signal louder than anyone.

Those businesses which are using phosphorous for things we really really want (e.g. fertilizers and cleaners) will roar back and declare “screw you, world! We’re making something truly valuable here, we need that phosphorous. If you’re going to up our costs, we’re going to up yours!” For some businesses, this will work. We will all sheepishly agree to pay the higher price, sobered by the knowledge that it was all our own fault, really. For others, we will simply laugh at them, and they will crumble. The owners of those businesses will have learned a valuable lesson as well – sometimes, when you gamble, you lose.

Of course, some of us will have seen the pattern of depleting resources leading to a higher price for the last few drops, and will be buying phosphorous now and holding for the long term. This is fantastic! Why? Because it continues teaching us our lesson early, and crumbles some wasteful businesses early, so that we start using our stuff more carefully now.

Damn capitalism is cool.

Dan May 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Oh boy, another were going to run out of (fill in the blank)! Always new oil and mineral sources to be found. The authors are typical hockey stick curve promoters. Frankly, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Mining companies invest hundreds of millions dollars on exploration programs every year to find new supplies, heck they don’t know whats there, hence the exploration. If they don’t know what if any mineral is there (on their properties mind you), then I doubt some bureaucrat posing as a scientist would be able to project worldwide supplies.

Ignore them. USGS was whining about lack of oil in the late 1800′s too (I guess Rockefeller didn’t get the memo). These people are clueless morons. While all mineral and petroleum resources are scarce (like every economic good), folks interested in profit (i.e. the market) will find more if it pays.

Nathan May 17, 2011 at 11:14 am

I picked up a 17 lb bucket at $2.70 a pound. That should last awhile.


Dan May 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Thanks dude. I have been looking for sources of this stuff for awhile. Can’t buy it in the USSNY.

Ned Netterville May 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

“A friend washed his old running shoes, and, to his amazement, they came clean. He is a runner and now he will saved hundreds of dollars in future running shoe purchases.”

He could save even more, much more, especially if the shoes he wears are Nike, Addidas, Rebok, Brooks, or any of the other cushioned running-shoe makers, and simply go without shoes altogether. (Alternatively, some Arrow Moccasins or thin-soled sandals will do.) The savings wont be so much in the shoes as in his medical expenses. To understand why running in modern shoes causes injuries, and running barefoot or with only a minimal sole, one must read Christopher McDougall’s 2009 book, BORN TO RUN, which has had an amazing influence on runners worldwide and is a fabulous read as well.

Marie May 17, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I bought a 4 pound bag of Foca laundry detergent from thelatinproducts.com which contains phosphates! The website does not list the ingredients, so I rolled the dice on Foca and another detergent called Roma. Don’t buy Roma – no phosphates. Foca is made in Mexico and is in big demand by Mexicans living in the U.S. because they I guess they like clean clothes or something. It was pricey at $9.49 and shipping wasn’t cheap (can’t remember how much), but it smells nice and there’s a cute baby seal on the label. I use very little of it because, unfortunately, I have a high efficiency washer which uses just a teensy bit of water and suds can be a problem. I also found Finish Glass Magic hard water performance booster that is used with automatic dishwasher detergent and it contains ‘ no more than 21% phosphorous in the form of phosphates’ at deerso.com. I think it’s interesting that ingredient lists are not provided on line for products containing phosphates. I wonder why. Hmmm. I also bought a 24 pack of Sylvania 100 watt bulbs on Amazon and when I get a little older I’ll buy diapers, too.

Virginia Llorca May 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm

And I’ve been meaning to get back to you on this. Is the typo in your blog title deliberate? If is is, it’s kind of a weak joke.

Freedom Fighter May 18, 2011 at 6:18 pm

You’re the weak sex around here ! Have you anything good to say about men or are you some type of misandrist american woman ? You’re not even funny, so if I was in your place, I would not complain about weak jokes. You’re a sad joke.

I liked mises.org a lot better when it was a boys club.

Nate-m May 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm


Virginia Llorca May 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Wow. . .

Virginia Llorca May 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Which particular freedom are you fighting for? Nothing I said could be construed as a complaint.

Let’s hear it for dialogue.

Ned Netterville May 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Forgive him, Virginia, he knows not what he says.

George May 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Alright, but if they do damage waterways then what are you libertarians doing to recompense others for the damage done?

J. Murray May 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Recompense who? Waterways are currently listed as “public access”. If there was a clear owner, it would be a different story. Sell the waterways to private users and then determine any damages via civil action.

George May 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm

How do you privatize waterways, or fisheries for that matter?

Ned Netterville May 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

George, stay tuned to Mises.org. There are lots of folks with good ideas on just how those seemingly thorny problems might be managed under a regimen of freedom. Using the Mises.org search engine and typing in “privatizing fisheries” produced a number of articles the seem to address your concern.

Colin Phillips May 20, 2011 at 10:33 am


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