The History of Cotton in America
Historically, the cotton production in the United States has experienced times of entrepreneurial developments from England’s cotton clothes and yarn. When the factories began operation, the price of cotton fell drastically to ensure affordability of the clothes by the poor people. The lowered price of cotton saw the rise of demand that necessitated England to demand more cotton. America at this era did not have a large base of cotton production until 1830 when the South started large-scale production of cotton. England benefited from 70 percent of this production while the rest remained in the nation for local production.
/> Slavery benefitted the Americans since it assisted them to leverage cotton production in the 1800s. With the abolishment in slavery in India, America had an upper hand in cheap production of cotton for at least 20 years to ensure it remained ahead of the competition. Problems ensued during the early production of cotton in the West as the cotton proved to be hard to remove the seed.
The Upland cotton was the only perverse of cotton that could grow in the region and Americans had no other option but to invent to solve the problem and meet the demand of cotton in England. The invention of Eli Whitney ensured the progress of the Upland cotton. America applied “sharecropping” to ensure continual production of cotton even after the abolishment of slavery in 1863.
In Sharecropping, a landowner loans a parcel of land to another person for the growth of cotton. The landowner in return extends equal rights to the portion since the person will later pay for all the items provided. Sharecropping enabled Americans to benefit from cheap labor to grow cotton and stay ahead in the competition. The availability of cheap labor enabled Americans to grow cotton further west since they were able to venture as far as Texas and Oklahoma to extend their territories and profit margins. People in this area had huge tracts of land to enable them participate in large-scale production of cotton. Farmers in this era did not take risks of building farms where people inhabited, they rather the people where farms were. For instance, ranch owners could create an area for the workers to live so that they would benefit the owner in case of immediate activity.
Cotton Production in China
With the introduction of cotton production in China, farmers had the ability to reduce the usage of pesticides. The BT cottonseed was unproductive since farmers had to buy new seed every year. The export process of cotton began in America at the point a truck or train receives the export batch of cotton and takes it to the coast. From the coast, the ship receives a batch and sends it to China.
In China, a truck of cotton makes the delivery to the cotton yarn factory for cleaning and smoothing to process the cotton to soft flat blanket. The soft blanket undergoes carding to a rope called the sliver. The sliver undergoes the process to turn to a can as the spindle turns to a yarn after twisting. The garment factory turns the yarn to long strips of fabric that turned to t-shirts after sewing together. The finished product of the t-shirt, China exports it back to America for branding in a screen-printing factory. America has overseas production of t-shirts to reduce clothing manufacturing in the domestic market.
America places restrictions to the Chinese market to ensure minimal competition in the American market. In this case, China processes American t-shirts. Researchers investigating China clothing line claim of hidden sweatshops where the nation benefits from cheap labor. A sweatshop has low prices and costs than rival markets in the textile industry. China is the first country to take the lead of production of smart system of making cotton cloth until 1750.
British took the lead after this era by incorporating new inventions that ensured more clothes with the same time used as in the Chinese era. In the 1950’s, the Chinese used the hukou system to classify people in accordance to their inhabitants. In this system, people had to remain in the rural area to produce food and did not have the permission to live their areas.
Later on, the hukou expanded to create a large population of people that resided in the countryside. As the textile mills sprouted at the coast, the government realized of the benefit of cheap labor as they gave employees low wages to get rid of waste. Chinese has to adhere to strict guidelines from United States since they sent inspectors to verify the application of the guidelines.
Most of the earlier Chinese textile industries were in the remote areas to pay the laborers cheap wages as the case applies to earlier American firms in the clothing industry. The textile industry magnates such as China and America move to the poor countries since they have lax regulations on pollution, quality, and the working conditions. In the 1970s, Hong Kong became the largest exporter of clothing as China woke up to the Cultural Revolution, as people with low wages were able to sell the cloth for less. Presently, Chinese leads as the world largest exporter in clothing.
United States are ironic in nature since it appoints itself as the free champion of free trade while with complex barriers of trade in the import of t-shirts. America does so in an era of progressive and trade liberalization to increase deference to the market mechanism, as the role of politics remains pervasive in the industry. In July 2003, organizations banded together to save American jobs by placing restrictions on Chinese clothing imported. The restrictions made to reduce the competition in American textile industry since it could to the American apparel closing business.
America practices the laying of rules to govern the level of imports in the country. T-shirts fail to meet the threshhold of preferential treatment attract a charge of 16.5 percent import tariff. China and America portray displeasure with the rules that govern the importation of t-shirts in America. With America being the world’s leader of free trade, cotton weavers complain due to entry of cheap fabric during Eisenhower administration. In the view of limitations of Japanese exports, other countries take the opportunity of supplying to the United States market.
The imports of cotton goods from Hong Kong to America surge by a high margin between 1956 and 1961; this stirs many complaints from American cotton weavers. The Short Term Arrangement on Cotton Textiles to assist America’s cotton weavers limits the surging Hong Kong’s imports to America. The use of quotas and tariffs gives America an upper hand to negotiate cotton textile import limits to protect America’s industry.
Consequently, the creation of the Long Term Arrangement for Cotton Textiles strives to protect Americans cotton industry. The advent of technology translates to job losses in both China and America due to the replacement of information systems with human resources. Tariffs and quotas do not assist the growth of American textile market but rather assists the smaller countries to limit the number of t-shirts sent to America.
The supporters of free trade demand the removal of quotas to enable America have access to cheap clothing line, unlike other countries. In doing so, it would lead to joblessness to many workers in the textile industry. The use of the compensation principle enables most textile workers with adequate money supply to secure jobs elsewhere. With the rise in imports, in America, the industry demands more jobs to control the flow of imports.
Market liberation United States helps to expand the base of clothing and textile products worldwide. The lift of the ban in 2005 saw America flood with Chinese apparels. The growth of the cotton industry has locally, and family owned businesses with customers in many countries.
During the 20th century, America stood as the largest exporter of cotton products and used t-shirts exported to other countries in the markets. America’s second hand industry entails family conglomerate firms that have ownership spanning four generations. The competition of second hand clothes soars in 2008, unlike other years. The sale of second hand clothes translate to the doubling of the price due to high demand as the price of t-shirts in China fell.
The clothing industry sorts many products such as skirts, household items, jeans, and t-shirts. The sorting task requires extensive skill in this decade, unlike other years. After the process of sorting, the transporting sector ships the clothes products to different places such as Africa, France, Japan, and other regions. The clothes products attract different prices in the region shipped since some of the products are of higher quality than others are.
For instance, Japan receives perfectly conditioned Mickey Mouse t-shirts that are cost prohibitive in the nation while Africa receives dark- colored clothes that conceal dirt. It is cheaper to buy women’s clothes than men’s clothes, and this enables women to acquire more clothes than men.
In the last case scenario, the t-shirt takes another turn in its life cycle. Most remains of the garment appear in the bin in the assumption of donations to charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army. Those that donate unaware of what happens to the donation can trace these products in other geographical locations for resale as second hand items.
People in Africa tend to have the same fashion preferences as Americans. Fashion styles are exorbitant in nature displayed in some of the American t-shirts and blue jeans. Africa receives sport teams shirts as some of the highly prized articles of clothing. The winning team shirts tend to fetch good bargains due to high demand.
A team of researchers holds the view that Africans seek out new clothes that have wrinkles and have musty smelled. Consumers associate musty smelling and wrinkles to a new clothing line from America since a fresh pressed garment cannot withstand that nature amidst spending weeks and months in a shipping container.
B. Discussion of the Book
The story of the travels of a t-shirt in the global economy by Pietra Rivoli discusses the issue of globalization of world trade relating to the textile industry. Rivoli purchases a t-shirt while on the holidays and does on own research to trace the channel of the t-shirt from the shop owner to the factories to enable one understand the impact of a t-shirt that end up in her hands. The author criticizes the globalization trade for taking advantage of people’s situations to reap enormous profit for own gain.
Through the author, one can comprehend the different stages of production of cotton to the final product that consumers have. The author is an economist that gives the reader great detail emanating from individual experiences concerning the mechanisms in the industry of cotton where magnates design the t-shirts at cheap labor to ensure low costs of operation to the detriment of the Vietnamese, Indians, and other poor nations.
The developed countries make use of the poor countries since they have lax regulations on pollution, workers conditions, and quality of products. The author unravels political decisions that relate with the foreign trade, import quotas, national protectionism, and large scale lobbying. This story enables one to comprehend and understand the process, strength, and the challenges in the cotton industry.
Some of the benefits of the information are that it depicts a comprehensive history of different aspects of global trade in the clothing and the textile industry as well as to depict the evolution of clothing textile production. The author weighs both sides of the argument to enable one to understand the twists and turns that affect the global clothing and textile production and trade. Rivoli is a strong supporter of free trade but does not have the same perspectives with the book’s supporters that the campaign for anti-globalization and the proponents of domestic protectionism.
The book outlines a myriad of political, social, and the economic forces that affect the simple process of producing a t-shirt. Rivoli gathers the information of the production of a t-shirt through her own excursion to the textile and the textile producing countries. Additionally, the author interacts and interviews the stakeholders in the production cycle in many countries to enable her deliver unique insights concerning the global clothing and the textile trade.
A narrative of the author does not in the way discriminate free trade and the forces of globalization. The discussion has balance to fence out the pros and cons of the argument. The content and analysis of the discussion focus on the history of the clothing and textile industry in America for one to understand the modern-day issues in the industry and their influence to the nation.
The book presents a detailed history of the various issues capturing the detailed history of global clothing and textile trade. The authors’ technique of leaping back and forth in the history and the modern day practices is crucial information to people understands to enable them the journey of the t-shirt before it becomes a finished product in the hands of the consumer. This book is a revelation at the complexities of global economics to address the related social issues that relate with the international business. As people read the book, one can understand the historical and political intricacies that embed the market.
The backlash against trade liberalization that starts with street protests evolves into mainstream reservations concerning global trade. The thought of the author helps one to understand the evolution and the congressional and national elections in 2004, uneasy public positions, and China uneasy public due to trade agreements. Some of the activists are against China’s illegal sweatshop due to the use of dehumanizing conditions to ensure the production using cheap labor.
The t-shirt’s journey encounters very few free markets in all the competitive markets. This book enables one to understand the origin of the t-shirt in Texas due to the long tradition of public policy that protects farmers from risks such as market, weather, credit, labor market, and price risks. American growers presently display remarkable creativity in the production and marketing of cotton to bolster the political and economic sectors in the nation. United States has an effective public-private partnership that enables growers’ innovation and progress.
The production of t-shirt in China under the hukou system constrains the labor mobility as well as limiting the flexibility of the labor markets. The activists of globalization target United States based magnates other than small firms and start-ups. This book enables one to understand the journey of the t-shirt from China to United States deliberated by high political constraints on the market. The political class seeks protection from markets in light of threats from Chinese market. China in return uses political protection through hukou system, managed currency, subsidy, and state ownership other than market threat. The t-shirt reaches retail level once tossed to the Salvation Army bin to venture to other markets in most parts of Africa.