[Marxism] Empirical confirmation of Hart-Landsburg/Burkett

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 17 07:16:17 MST 2004

A New Pattern Is Cut for Global Textile Trade
China Likely to Dominate as Quotas Expire

By Peter S. Goodman and Paul Blustein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 17, 2004; Page A01

AMPARA, Sri Lanka -- Wild monkeys and Buddhist shrines outnumber any 
signs of industry, and rampaging elephants are not uncommon. The closest 
port lies seven hours away, down a rutted road. Yet here in the jungle 
of this small island nation in the Indian Ocean, the Daya Apparel Export 
Ltd. factory and others like it churn out pants and shirts for American 
Eagle Outfitters, A-line skirts for the Gap and bras for Victoria's Secret.

"If I didn't have this job, we wouldn't have enough to eat," said 
20-year-old Mohammed Ismail Mazeela, one of 2,000 women from surrounding 
villages who work at the plant. The $40 monthly wage supports her family 
in Sammamthurai village, where people walk trash-strewn lanes in bare 
feet. It buys the electricity powering the lone bulb in her shack, the 
food her mother cooks over the wood fire on their concrete floor, and 
schoolbooks for her sister's three children. "There is nothing else here."

Soon there may be even less. On Jan. 1, World Trade Organization rules 
governing the global textile trade will undergo their biggest revision 
in 30 years. The changes are expected to jeopardize as many as 30 
million jobs in some of the world's poorest places as the textile 
industry uproots and begins consolidating in a country that has become 
the world's acknowledged low-cost producer: China.

About $400 billion in trade is at stake, but the implications are 
greater than the money involved. Since 1974, many developing countries 
have pinned their economic hopes on a complicated system of worldwide 
quotas that guaranteed each a specified share of the lucrative textile 
markets in the United States and Europe. By specifying how many blue 
jeans or how much fabric an individual country could export, the quotas 
have effectively limited the amount of goods coming from major producers 
like China, while giving smaller or less competitive nations room to 
participate. Capital and jobs followed the quotas, helping countries 
build an industrial base through textile exports.

full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55462-2004Nov16.html


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