The textile industry is one of the biggest industries in the world, as the market for its product is growing at an exponential rate. This industry is concerned with the immediate role of producing material in yarn and cloth form; which are the primary ingredients in the manufacture of clothing.
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In the 18th century, the British inventors wanted to exploit the world markets with their technological designs and at the same time there were restrictions on selling the designs, models, or the machinery to other parts of Europe. James Hargreaves invented the spinning Jenny while Richard Arkwright came up with the first textile factory in 1771 in Cromford, England.
Samuel Slater later opted to start his own factory in Rhode Island in 1792. In the early 1800s, other factories started coming up in Boston and other parts of the United States. Since then the textile industry has flourished not only in America but in the whole world. Factories with modern state of the art equipments have been built in major cities in the world; and demand and supply of their products are at a rising trend (Gathi, 2001).
International trade is one the most complex areas in the legal arena. This is because there are a number of players involved, both state and non-state actors forming trade organizations. The levels of interactions amongst the parties involved are difficult if not tedious to keep track of. Before the trade act of 2005, the textile industry in America was not doing so good.
The relationship between the US and China for example has been in the dark side for decades. Exports and imports between the two countries have been hampered by the political interests and differing ideas of these two countries. The textile markets between these countries have never achieved their full potential. Looking at the American industry, the number of jobs that were lost in this period with trade barriers were totaling to the thousands.
This meant that more Americans were jobless and there was little income coming from this sector. The removal of the trade sanctions in 2005 has seen an increase in the trade of textile and especially in the trade of the demin material.
Everybody in the word seems to be in love with the denim jeans. It therefore would be no surprise to find at least 10 pairs of jeans in each house hold in America. The denim business is a giant catch, raking in over 50 billion dollars each year. There are over 70 countries involved in the production of jeans in the world; the big producers are China and Mexico.
The business of denim has become so global, that it is literally evident in the threads that make the materials. Different countries e.g. India, Azerbaijan, Turkey, United States and Pakistan produce the cotton that is used to make the denim fabric. Snyder’s Fugitive Denim looks at the business of Jeans and its impact on the lives of those involved, as well as its impact on the environment.
One of the counties explored was the United States. Different fashions have come and gone but the denim jeans seems to have outlived them all; only evolving to become the iconic fashion symbol of the 20th and perhaps the 21st century. However, in the last few years, cotton production has been of low benefit to the farmers as the world market prices plunged.
Farmers in the United States enjoy subsidies from the government unlike some of their counterparts from others parts of the world. They also use methods of farming that are less harmful to the environment. When you buy your jeans from the shop, chances are that the pair contains up to 3.5 % of pesticides used during production.
It is no wonder that the American farmers have adopted safer methods that avoid the usage of Pesticides. The farmers are using genetically modified cotton seeds. The impact of the toxic pesticides has been felt by farmers in the third world; who do not have the privilege of advancing their farming methods. Farmers in these regions end up developing lung and other long term diseases such as cancer.
Furthermore the textile industry has been riddled with scandals of child and slave labour. The most affected counties being china and Cambodia which have numerous scattered sweatshops. Other impacts of the textile business are those of water pollution and soil degradation. Being a water intensive type of farming, farmers channel water to their farms from the rivers.
This leaves some of the rivers with no way of supporting life. Some of the water also gets contaminated with the chemicals from the farms leaving the soils toxic and dangerous to human life. The world system theory suggests that the world economy has disparities in economic development. That development largely depends on the technological knowhow of a state. Making the United States at the top of this hierarchy followed by her counterparts in Europe.
And the tasks or works that require higher levels of skill and capitalization are reserved for these regions making the third world a peripheral region and receiver of the remnants of the maldistribution of resources. Hence, current progress of the world economy tends to enlarge the economic and social gaps even further.
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This leaves the third world a beggar of sorts (Chase-Dunn and Grimes, 1995). It would be safe to say that the world-systems theory is drawn from the dependency theory. This is further defined as a macro-sociological existence, where different states or regions depend on each other for the basic survival kits which include food, fuel, and perhaps protection.
There is a presence of a power hierarchy. There are regions or states that exist in the core and are considered to dictate terms of business to the other regions that exist within the periphery. Technology seems to be a power weapon in the quest for domination.
The peripheral countries are structurally disabled to pull themselves out of the murky situation and formulate policies that are development oriented. The core states maintain the system as well as try to pull out the peripheral states by offering their surplus (Goldfrank, 2000).
Do I agree with this world-systems theory? It is quite evident that the third world countries have remained in the same status as they were economically; while the developed countries continue to rich themselves from the spoils they get from their exploits.
Even though the developed world is offering help on one hand, the other hand seems to be taking. This makes me agree with wallerstein’s theory.
Chase-Dunn, & Grimes P., (1995) “World-Systems Analysis.” Annual Review of Sociology. Vol. 21 p. 387-417.
Gathi H., (2001). The Evolution of Machines 1: Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the eighteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.
Goldfrank L., (2000). “Paradigm Regained? The Rules of Wallerstein’s World-System Method. Journal of World-Systems Research. Vol. 6. N. 2 pp. 150-195.