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Here’s a quirky little story. American money has been consolidated into a single system of currency since the late 1800s. As part of this, U.S. dollars have been printed on a unique cotton blend paper, supplied by only one company (Crane) for more than a century. The chief cotton ingredient has been denim. However, since the 1990s, Lycra has contaminated the denim supply.

1. What is Lycra and why has it become the scourge of the money supply?
2. What percentage of its cotton did Crane previously get from denim?
3. What is Crane using now, instead of denim?
4. Why is money printed on cotton blend paper?

Garber, M. (2013).Your Skinny Jeans are Destroying the U.S. Dollar. The Atlantic, Dec. 17 (Retrievable online at
Mui, Yian Q. (2013). How tight jeans almost ruined America’s money. The Washington Post, December 16 (Retrievable online at