Textile production returns (sort of) to the US South

By Christopher B. Daly

According to a story in today’s NYTimes, the management of the big textile companies have finally achieved a long-sought goal: production without workers. In the book Like A Family, my co-authors and I tell the story of what happened when the U.S. textile industry moved in the early 20th century from its first home in New England to the Piedmont region of Southern states like Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia.

From the get-go, owners and managers sought to replace labor with capital whenever they could. Here’s an example of advertising we found in the trade press of the 1920s.

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 10.46.37 AM

Now, it appears the industry has reached rock-bottom in terms of employment and is actually able to compete with low-wage competition from India, China, and elsewhere.

 

 

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