A Common Thread: Labor, Politics, and Capital Mobility in the Textile Industry

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University of Georgia Press, Jan 25, 2010 - Business & Economics - 248 pages
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With important ramifications for studies relating to industrialization and the impact of globalization, A Common Thread examines the relocation of the New England textile industry to the piedmont South between 1880 and 1959. Through the example of the Massachusetts-based Dwight Manufacturing Company, the book provides an informative historic reference point to current debates about the continuous relocation of capital to low-wage, largely unregulated labor markets worldwide.

In 1896, to confront the effects of increasing state regulations, labor militancy, and competition from southern mills, the Dwight Company became one of the first New England cotton textile companies to open a subsidiary mill in the South. Dwight closed its Massachusetts operations completely in 1927, but its southern subsidiary lasted three more decades. In 1959, the branch factory Dwight had opened in Alabama became one of the first textile mills in the South to close in the face of post-World War II foreign competition.

Beth English explains why and how New England cotton manufacturing companies pursued relocation to the South as a key strategy for economic survival, why and how southern states attracted northern textile capital, and how textile mill owners, labor unions, the state, manufacturers' associations, and reform groups shaped the ongoing movement of cotton-mill money, machinery, and jobs. A Common Thread is a case study that helps provide clues and predictors about the processes of attracting and moving industrial capital to developing economies throughout the world.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Southern Boosters Piedmont Mills and New England Responses
7
Legislation Labor and Depression
21
Moving to Alabama City
40
Unionization Capital Mobility and ChildLabor Laws in Alabama
71
The Textile Depression of the 1920s
101
The 1934 General Strike
129
From Defeat to Victory and Back Again
153
Conclusion
177
Notes
183
Bibliography
215
Index
229
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Beth English is a research associate at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

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