Video Discussion: Textile Manufacturing in America, post-globalisation

Discussion questions:

#1. What makes globalization and trade controversial and debatable? Please use 1-2 examples from the video to illustrate your point.

#2. Are classic trade theories (e.g., comparative advantage) still relevant or outdated in the 21st century? Why? Please share your thoughts based on the video and the figures.

#3. Based on the video and the figures above, is the US textile manufacturing sector a winner or loser of globalization and international trade? Why?

#4. Related to question #3, does the future prosperity of the US textile manufacturing sector need globalization or de-globalization? What’s your vision?

#5. Take the following poll (anonymous) and share your reflections.

#6. Should the government’s trade policy consider non-economic factors such as national security and geopolitics? What should be the line between promoting “fair trade” and “trade protectionism”? What’s your view?

#7. Is there anything else you find interesting/intriguing/thought-provoking in the video? Why?

(Welcome to our online discussion. For students in FASH455, please address at least two questions and mention the question number (#) in your reply)

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

8 thoughts on “Video Discussion: Textile Manufacturing in America, post-globalisation”

  1. Regarding question #5, I personally would not be interested in pursuing a career in a textile mill, as described in the video. This is because of the unpredictability in a batch getting ruined after a season’s hard work. I do however think the job is highly respectable as those in that field are contributing to the growth of innovation in our countries textile manufacturing sector.
    In response to question #3, I think the US textile manufacturing sector was a loser of globalization and international trade because big companies were using other countries for their sourcing and manufacturing. This was because it was much cheaper compared to the United States. In doing this, it declined a need for textile manufacturing jobs in the United States. This creates a trade dependence because the majority of the fashion industry was seeing high results for lower costs abroad. It’s important we don’t fully depend on imports for when things happen that we can’t predict like the pandemic. I think a balance of imports and exports is needed, Post Globalization however may bring a bigger momentum for the United States in textiles manufacturing innovation.

  2. #3) The U.S. textile manufacturing industry sector is a loser of globalization and international trade because in the process of wanting to make products as cheap as possible, the factories as well as jobs went overseas to places like China or Switzerland where their dyeing machinery is more advanced. Also many businesses that have started in the US have moved off-shore because of this reasoning. Due to this, jobs in the US were lost and factories closed, which had a negative effect on those workers. It is now very crucial for the US to bring that idea of everything having to be made cheaply and at a fast rate back to the wages/income of employees and job growth/opportunity being most important. The US must keep innovating and find ways in which making the supply chains more local won’t increase prices.

    1. #7) I found it to be very interesting when they were talking about the cotton farm and how if just one storm came, it would be completely wiped out. With this being a smaller cotton gin, it hurt the profits, the crop, as there is no way of really protecting it. This was thought-provoking to me because people put so much work into this and then it can all be taken away and and I wondered how with all the new technology there is not a way to prevent or minimize the effects.

  3. #3) It’s really hard to say as the U.S textile market itself has been a loser in it, but everyday American consumers overall have been definite winners in it. The textile market has been a loser because due to globalization and textile jobs moving out of the US over the last several decades, the US textile market had become extremely small and had mostly moved out of the country. However, international trade for the country as a whole has been very beneficial for US companies as well as consumers. In many circumstances, workers in other countries have been mistreated and worked in unethical conditions in order for brands to make more money, and to be able to offer their products at a lower price to American consumers.

  4. 5.) The U.S. textile manufacturing sector is a loser of globalization and international trade. Many companies are using free trade to their advantage. Other countries have lower labor costs, along with lower supply costs. Utilizing these resources will ultimately result in a cheaper product and higher profits. The U.S. factories are losing because of this. They are paying their workers an adequate amount, and sourcing from nearby. This puts them behind the companies that are choosing to use trade.

    7.) I found it very interesting to see how the weather was one of the biggest risks within the cotton industry. I originally viewed a horizontal integration production process to come with many benefits but did not think about the negatives. Being a small company, they rely on themselves for sourcing and the weather can ruin everything overnight. This makes me wonder how a bigger cotton company prevents this, and what they do when it affects multiple people that are sourcing from them.

  5. 3. Based on the video discussion, I do believe the U.S. textile manufacturing sector is a loser of globalization and international trade. To some extent, the U.S. has become dependent on sourcing and manufacturing products from different countries. In the video, it was clear that the U.S. has a main goal of getting products to consumers in a cheap and efficient manner, and it is extremely difficult for the U.S. to compete with the costs of production in different countries. While there have been advancements to try and transition to U.S. manufacturing, it is hard to steer away from cheaper products and the higher profits associated with them.

    4. Based on the video discussion, I do believe that while I can see both sides, the US textile manufacturing sector needs globalization in order to prosper in the future. I think the US has become pretty dependent on other countries for manufacturing, and focusing on de-globalization can hurt the US economy. While I do believe that it is important to consider job opportunities and growth for US employees, without globalization, the US would be losing a significant amount of both products and trade partners, who aid in the large economic growth the US consistently experiences.

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