• Book explores how second-hand clothing supply chains cut across continents
• Used-clothing networks: are intimate bonds of connectivity, they physically link consumers who wear new clothes in global N to poorest in global S who depend on buying & re-wearing the same garments
? reverse flow of commodities as it goes from rich to poor, while new clothes are manufactured in low-income countries & emerging economies (China)
• Fast fashion: instantaneous and cheap manufacturing, ever-changing supply of garment styles & relatively effortless consumption of clothing; how trends move rapidly from catwalk to the store
? Western consumers have choice over what they wear b/c poor ppl in developing world grow cotton, dye materials & stitch fabric, and are paid low wages which keeps clothes cheap
? Low wages can’t allow cotton farmers & factory workers to consume garments they help make & so global division in consumption emerged
Chapter 1 – A Biography of Jeans (Linda)
• Systems of provision: how an everyday clothing item has a rich history & passes along a geographically diverse commodity chain, then to consumers
? Considers how the role of the consumer emerged & is an inclusive way of examining the ‘chain of activity that attaches consumption to production that makes it possible’ (Ben Fine)
? 6 stages: origin, design, cotton growing, denim milling, manufacturing, advertising & retail
Jeans: a social history – Began with weaving of denim fabric & use of indigo dye
• We have become conditioned to wear jeans as part of entrenched clothing systems of provision
• The spheres of production & consumption influence one another as the market for, and the use value of, jeans ‘are shaped according to the modern relations of production and in turn intervene to modify those relations’
? Use value: material worth of a thing in relation to the wants and needs of humans
– Hard-wearing denim trousers were practical, reliable & useful
– This use value was reinforced by global production infrastructure, which developed to mass-manufacture a robust & affordable garment that could be tailored to convey different cultural messages
– Jeans are a product of industrial development and in turn have shaped how industry developed, leading to emergence of jeans systems of provision
• When used jeans are transported & taken up by 2nd owner, they will form part of a new semiotic register, made up of a group of different signs and signifiers
? (Daniel Millar) 1st core semiotic marker was association of jeans with US, now jeans are globally entrenched
• Designers are located in global north: Levi Strauss (San Francisco), Armani, Gucci & Prada (Millan), London, Paris, NY b/c it is skilled technical, metropolitan work that’s well paid, graduate-level jobs as opposed to low-skilled, poorly paid, dangerous production in global S
• Designs allows 1 to be noticed & anonymity; effect a balance btw providing uniform & individual looks, which reflects societies own tensions btw social liberty & conformity to prescribed patterns of behaviour & lives on to influence how jeans are valued in 2ndary marketplaces
• Buyers covet new trends/styles & yearning to consume becomes a form of control – it is central to social relations under capitalism
? Inherently expansionist nature of the market means ppl have to be compelled to buy more goods that at authentic, fashionable & luxurious, which are aspirational images that capitalism depends
• Designers play key role in systems of provision by creating visual formulas that can be cultivated to emerge as part of sophisticated advertising & marketing strategies which cast a spell on the consumer
• Cotton uses far greater degree of chemical input than most food crops b/c less concern over consumer’s health (as not ingesting it), but have disastrous impacts on agricultural environments & worker’s well-being
? Virtual water: invisible agriculture & industrial consumption of water that goes into production of goods
– Cotton far exceeds water requirements of food crops & grown in water-scarce environments
– Demand for cotton products driven by overconsumption in N, threatens precious water resources
• Agricultural workers in cotton sector have been treated in a disgraceful way for centuries; cotton always grown at great human cost
? US: cotton growing inextricably linked to slavery; Africa: connected to colonial labour abuses
? Global S: abuse of child labour, labour exploitation
• Research by Oxfam (advocator for change): how demand for cotton keeps peasants, smallholders & agricultural workers in poverty across global South, especially in West African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad & Mali
? Relationships of dependency with international cotton markets & trade regulations are structured against poor producers & have negative effects on farmers’ livelihoods
• Now, cotton production is mechanized & environmental impacts are regulation, but this only commercially viable as the sector is heavily subsidized in global N
Ginning, spinning & weaving – How cotton is made
• Denim plants have heavy ecological footprint: process of making denim involves strong toxic chemicals, are water intensive – contributes to high volumes of virtual water
? Effects goes beyond workers & can harm local communities
? In global S: Local environmental controls often poorly enforced, but in manufacturing, spinning & weaving factories are help to exacting international standards to produce denims with minimal faults
• Blending of diff patterns of production & regimes of accumulation makes it difficult to audit the multiple relationships btw farmers, ginneries, spinners & fabric weavers that constitute the production of denim
? Throughout global jeans’ systems of provision, denim is produced in 1 factory by 1 contractor & sent onwards to garment factories where it is cut & sewn
? Across the linked chain of transactions there’s a co-dependence btw the designers, retailer, garment sewers & manufacturers BUT designer/retailer at the beginning of chain gets to monopolize the most valuable activities & extract the greatest overall surplus/profit from labour
Manufacturing jeans: woven denim to final designs through subdivision of labour
• Production & jeans manufacturing no longer major industry in N, moved to Asia or the S
? Levi Struass process of deverticalization: headquartered in US, licensing manufacturing to foreign firms in Mexico
– Buyer-driven, decentralized approach allows Levi’s to move production to different factories around the world & take advantage of variation in labour prices and other associated manufacturing costs, rather than being tied to comparative high wages of working classes in US
– Highly profitable design & marketing processes still protected & retained by Levi’s
• Fast fashion: encapsulates the rapid changes in trends & styles found in global N and the pace of retail sales, ALSO the speed at which designs can be transmitted around the world and orders turned into garments
? Digital pattern designs, subcontracting & flexible ordering are advanced production management approaches that the fast fashion industry utilizes to enhance profitability
Advertising & retail: contribute to establishing value in expensive jeans
• Designer brands invest in establishing advertising & marketing strategies
? Capital is expended on renting the best retail space, fitting out shops in chic & minimalistic styles, buying glossy advertising space & employing top models in advertising. These costs are added into the retail price & brand owners extract a surplus from all these different types of labour activity as well as thru manufacturing process to amass a profit
Today’s jeans systems of provision: not made in 1 place, but are constructed as a commodity with a particular set of social values through a whole web of relationships
• Fruits of production are unevenly distributed: diverse ppl involved in growing of cotton/stitching of fabric/marketing of jeans, receive different wages; meanwhile managers, owners & investors who control means of production extract surplus from both manufacturing & retail
• Across many jeans systems of provision the influence and power of transnational firms from the global N who promote markets for denim goods is near hegemonic
? Mega-consumption of fast fashion reflects & reinforces socio-economic inequality whilst simultaneously degrading the environment
? Buying jeans in N is a type of consumption that intertwines with social aspiration through distinction-making
? Question for ‘cheap’ but serviceable clothes by consumers has led to migration of industries from (more expensive) global N to (less expensive) global S, and to the inexorable depression of inflation-adjusted wage rates for many workers, whilst ratcheting up the pressures on farmland & water-scarce environments
*** Theorizing production & consumption
1. Spatial division of labour in clothing sector
? Tasks are undertaken in places where they are enabled by diff factors of production
? Design takes place in studios in cosmopolitan cities & cotton is grown where the climate and landscape allow
? Uneven development is the result of social cleavages that have divided society & is a historical and material process
2. Jeans & their constituent parts are not just ‘things’ but are also a set of social relationships: link btw farmer & cotton trader, connection btw factory owner & sewing machine operator, or cultural symbol purchased by a teenager
? These social relationships, which are positions of power & dependency in economic transactions, are in no way natural
– Jeans have basic use value: worn to provide warmth & protection ALSO various types of jeans are considered more/less stylish, depending on cultural context, which affects their value
– Exchange of money which accompanies the movement of jeans btw diff parities in a supply chain is not directly associated with a labour activity that would make jeans more useful
– Social relations in market exchange not connected with the material transformation of goods or an increase in use value
– Value is socially determined and affected by factors such as advertising, fashions & trends, and not deprived from the basic usefulness of a thing
– Ppl involved in jeans system of provision (designers, stylists, models & sales assistants) all play social role in creating symbolic value & the work they do is a product of culture
– Reason why well-paid jobs are carried out in global N & not S is the outcome of centuries of uneven development
Chapter 2 – Clothes and capital (Linda)
• Globalization: making, trading & selling commodities is part of a dynamic global market system that shapes everyone’s lives
? Liberal/laissez-fair approaches to trade involved removing barriers that constrain free flow of goods and investment: duties (payments levied on goods), quotas (fixed numbers of imports), protectionism (shielding domestic industry from foreign competition
? Liberal reforms by 18th century Britain, Europe & N.America pioneers of commerce removed trade barriers, freeing the market and enabling capital & products to circulate around the world = these policies led to success of global N, free trade is the mechanism by which economic growth & prosperity are derived
• Bra wars: dispute that erupted after quotas under Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA), which restricted import s of Chinese textiles & clothing to Europe; removed January 2005
? Europe not prepared for increased competition so Chinese-made garments were blocked at European port by new barriers to trade, but many shipments already paid for by retailers who were enraged & faced the prospect of empty shelves
? Not how free trade was meant to work: free trade supposed to enable civilization to flourish & prosper via their comparative advantage; European intransigence meant that China was being prevented from utilizing its huge modern factories & vast pool of cheap labour to drive forward development
• Removing barriers to trade enable the further spatial advance of capitalism, which much be understood as the greatest force for transforming the world; capital & commodities (clothing) are the lifeblood which flows through the body politic
? BUT rather than moving towards an even & stable status, inequality & catastrophe are the unavoidable prognosis
Crisis of capitalism: 2 features
1. Businesses are inherently expansionist, looking for low-cost manufacturers & new marketplaces to sell ? investors want to circumvent constraints on trade & compete in new regions ??state competes in controlling access to labour & market ??government overridden by the political rule of capital despite attempts to fence in production through protectionist measures ? result: capitalism breaks free & stalks the earth in search of new territories
? Daily life depends upon production of commodities through a system that has profit-seeking as its principal & socially accepted goal
? Need new investment opportunities to maintain profit growth, so when too much capital is accumulated it must be reinvested in a new area & seeks out a spatial fix: driven by logic of maximizing profitability, investment spread to occupy & seek a ‘fix’ in new spaces
– It is this expansionist urge which pushed bra production out of Europe & put Chinese factories in pre-eminent position in global garment trade
2. Crisis- prone nature:
? Global scale = severe financial crisis that occur when there’s devaluation/drastic loss of capital
? Regional scale = as protectionism, labour problems, technological failings, natural limits and a lack of effective demand, which can slow down or disrupt capital flows
? Short term solution: investors use the ‘spatial fix’ & flows of capital can be switched btw places
– relocating factories temporarily overcomes falling rate of profit; moving manufacturing to new lower wage locations mitigates change of a crisis of production in sectors such as clothing – hence garment manufacturing moved from Europe to Asia
? Real human impacts: employment in EU fashion fell, poor labour conditions in China (large-scale exploitation)
The origins of clothes and uneven development: society transition btw different modes of production – hunter-gather communities ? feudal kingdoms ? capitalist nations
• Trade is essentially production of surplus from nature: so for exchange of use values to occur & enables production for exchange to develop
? E.g. grain could only be exchanged for wool once there was a surplus of grain
• CRITIQUE: Diffusionist beliefs stem from colonial view of the world, it is misused to justify the subjugation & oppression, b/c it bestowed ‘civilization’ on areas of the world considered ‘savage’ – there is no innate ‘modern’ core & peripheral ‘traditional’ sectors to the world
• European nations drove forward globalization & dominate world trade b/c injection of gold & silver from the New World after 1492 provided resources in the form of exchange value (valuable currency) that propelled European merchant capital towards political power & created transatlantic trade
? Capitalism wrestled political control from Europe’s feudal monarchs & later destroyed political power & social groups elsewhere in the colonized world
Clothing in ancient society [Just a recount of history, not relevant to answering the essay question at all]
Protected trade in the feudal era: colonialism
• Colonial projects are to spur expansion of manufacturing: bring in new raw materials & markets under European control
? Columbus’s voyage to America motivated by desire to find access to valuable goods: silk, spices, gold
? Maritime exploration led to new forms of interactions btw Europe & rest of world
• Sustained contact in the long term meant new relationships in 1 of 3 modes:
1. As privileged foreigner traders in new lands (Jesuits in China)
2. As conquers & dominators of existing societies (French in West Africa, British in India)
3. As invasive land clearers who decimated & supplanted aboriginal communities (British, French & Spanish in Americas)
Capitalism and Industrial Revolution: qualitative & fundamental transformation in society; large-scale movement from handicraft tools to mechanized devices transformed not only cloth production but social relations across industrialized societies
• Factory employment necessitated widespread changes to work patterns, which redrew social hierarchies; society polarized btw 2 classes:
1. Wage-earning, hard-working proletariat
2. Capitalist class of bourgeois industrialists: sucked surplus value from proletariat in the form of profit = exploitation of labour
• Exploitation increases as long as the socially accepted imperative of capital is to expand & generate ever greater profit; competing & expanding firms seek to drive profits forward
? 2 means to maximize exploitation:
1. Brute force: using existing work processes & technology, more surplus value can be produced by increasing the length of the working day or by cutting salaries
2. Technological change – the cost of labour-power can be reduced
• Factory-based system of provision: facilitated exploitation & generated goods in vast quantities at diminishing costs = formed own markets for cloths products
• Britain was ready & primed for exponential growth in capitalist mode of production as it was an expansionist nation where money talked and governed: political rue of capital propelled the Industrial Revolution
? (Eric Hobsbawn) 2 fundamentals preconditions required for Industrial Rev:
1. Industry which already offered exceptional rewards for the manufacturer who could expand output quickly, if need by reasonably cheap & simple inoovations
2. A world market largely monopolized by a single nation
? Textiles sector developed with British colonial expansion overseas ? highly lucrative & overseas markets expanded
• Colonialism helped form the demand which pump-primed the emergence of industrial capitalism
Capital and colonial expansion
• Ideas spread & factories were built in developed in societies that shared some of the preconditions: Europe and America imitates Britain
? Effect of the emergence & expansion of capitalism and the factory were inherently spatial; while N experiences economic development, rest of the world paid the price
? Colonized territories drawn into service of industrial economies
? Africa, Asian, S.America were underdeveloped as local artisan production decline in the face of competition & ppl were forced to supply raw materials for the industrial powers, which established the patterns of uneven development found across the world today
• As the great nation-state powers of the colonial era expanded overseas, new territories were drawn into the capitalist mode of production & market integration gradually drew nearly all society worldwide into one economic system: Industrial Rev brought the world’s 1st global clothing systems of provision into operation
• Capitalist expansion had brought crisis to India, transforming the economic geography & impoverishing the populace
? India exported raw cotton to Britain where it was manufactured into clothing & exported back to India – process was effectively paid for by the export of other raw materials & created a relationship of structural dependency
? Ghandi recognized the tyranny at the heart of British Imperial policy & began speaking out against minority rule & traded English suits for simple white cotton attire with khadi (traditional homespun loincloth & shawl)
Capitalism adapts in the twentieth century
• Fordism: new approach to organizing industry for which Henry Ford’s car factories provided the model
? Scientific management of workers (Frederick W. Taylor): a division of labour btw workers performing unskilled repetitive tasks & those skilled and managerial roles
? Ford recognized need to stimulate markets for their products, try to overcome the internal contradictions of capitalism, THEREFORE improve life of workers = so can afford to consume the goods they were making
? Modernized organization of society to follow centralized patterns of social & political control & accepted scientifically rational norms
• Post-war era: problems of capitalist expansion solved through development of mass consumption in global N, modern consumer class emerged as surplus extraction relaxed
? Rising living standards in Europe & N.America shifted manufacturing to Asia, Middle East, South America – mass migration of capital to global South began to take advantage of these countries as sources of cheap labour
• Decolonization in Africa & Asia stimulated industrial expansion: migration of factories from old industrial N to S
? As poor countries gained political independence they adopted, import substitution approaches to industrialization (ISI), protecting their infant domestic industries from competition by foreign clothing
The Multi-Fiber Arrangement and the growth of fast fashion
Chapter 1 – biography of jeans (Olachi)
Pg. 27 – “the term fast fashion does not just encapsulate the rapid changes in trend and styles found the global north and the pace of retail sales, but also the speed at which designs can be transmitted around the world and orders turned into garments. Digital pattern designs, subcontracting and flexible ordering are advanced production management approaches that the fast fashion industry utilizes to enhance profitability. Efficient use of labour is fundamentally important and workers are not always employed in sweatshop conditions…
• The author Andrew Brooks introduces the term fast-fashion in greater detail which smoothly transitions to the analysis of garment industries tactics
• Fast-fashion defined as is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly in order to capture current fashion trends.
• Fast fashion is connected to the term Quick Response (QR) which was developed to improve manufacturing processes in the textile industry with the aim of removing time from the production system
• Fast fashion has also come under criticism for contributing to poor working conditions in developing countries*
• Significantly important in highlighting the key focus on what pushes these industries forward in terms of profit and going about investing in their marketed products at the expense of those people who work the labour of the marketer’s demands.
Also on page 27 – “most garment workers are female, although there is often a gender division in tasks. Work such as loading and unloading materials and truck driving is more likely to be performed by men, whereas the static production tasks are primarily undertaken by young women in their late teens, 20s and 30s. Work in garment factories is a classic example of global patriarchy. Women pay the price for decisions made by men, as factory ownership in clothing manufacturing as well as senior management positions in internal clothing firms are overwhelmingly male”.
• Relatively important in terms of addressing problems of exploitation in the global south, this quote touches base on the issue of gender inequality, which is a prevailing factor in the condition of society – especially in the global south.
• Particular strong quote for option one out of the two essay topics, especially when it comes to analysing the factors in which contribute substantially to a “highly unequal world in which the citizens of the global south cannot escape poverty”.
• There is a noticeable pattern in the author’s approach in this chapter – he outlines the facts, the effect, but not much about a solution and how these issues could be reversed or better handled, especially in the matters of how each gender is affected. The approach is rather brief and informative, but not solution oriented.
Page 33 – “the mega consumption of fast fashion reflects and reinforces socio-economic inequality whilst simultaneously degrading the environment. Buying new jeans in the global north is a type of consumption that intertwines with social aspiration through distinction-making. The quest for cheap but serviceable clothes by consumers has led to migration of industries from the more expensive global north to the less expensive global south, and to the inexorable depression of inflation-adjusted wage rates for many workers, which ratcheting up the pressures on farmland and water-scarce environments”.
• it is the idea that to produce and keep up with the flow of demand, that risks to the health of the people, the environment, the wages in which people work for in return for their hard labour is incredibly unrealistic for a promising basic survival in a poor society, especially one in the global south where consistent development in hard enough as is.
• Great quote for focusing on both essay topics in terms the issue of poverty in the global south. Also this focuses on exploitation that continues to bring the nations of the global south down, rather than creating a sense of stability through decent wages – where both markets and the people working under them in these factories can benefit from all the labour imposed. Workers are paid for their time, markets keep their employees in the long run. Hard to come by, but much more fair.
Chapter summary directly from page 37: this chapter/biography sketches out the form of new jeans systems of provision. However there are also other forms of provision that determine the flow of second-hand jeans across the world…
– Also, the book intends to focus on “the people and not the clothes” … looking at the unequal geographical relationships in garment production and consumption.
– The objective of the book is to explore the full effects of the fast-fashion industry on billions of people by thinking about the manufacturing and retail of a new clothing commodity.
Chapter 2 – clothes and capital (Olachi)
Side note – liberal or laissez-fair approaches to trade involved removing barriers that constrain the free flow of goods and investment. Barriers to trade include duties (payments goods and investment). Barriers to trade include duties (payments levied gods, quotes and protectionism).
Page 54: protectionism was important in developing clothing and textile sectors. The transition from artisanal making to industrial cloth manufacturing centred on Europe, and in many ways this progression is archetypal of the rise to the pinnacle of global power from the sixteenth century onwards. Especially significant in spurring the expansion of manufacturing were the colonial projects, which brought new raw materials and markets under European control.
• Briefly addresses the history of industrial revolution, major in connecting to textile development and industry.
• Historic example of feudal era that was connected to industries only being concerned with satisfying personal desires and objectives, and political appetites of feudal rulers
• Idea that the needs of the people were often neglected in terms of making decisions for production and it is relatively clear where the primary roles of power and motives remained within these societies and how is has continued over the course of time.
• Also, protectionism is defined as any program, policy, or system of laws that seeks to provide protection for property owners, wildlife, the environment, etc. – something to consider…
Page 62: in different regions the adoption or rejection of European styles of dress demonstrated acquiescence to or confrontation with different forms of authority, as people aspired to equality with or exerted their autonomy from the western world.
• Important to take into consider about factors that impose restraints on what is allowed and what is prohibited in society.
• Connection to ideologies, moral codes associated with religion as an example, personal culture, etc. – which impact the motion of society in ways that either maximizes barriers or affects the conditions of each given society, especially in the global south
Page 65: a link was established between production and consumption, and labour exploitation was relaxed as workers were paid salaries sufficient to enable them to consume the goods they were making. Life improved for labourers. The working day was shortened to eight hours, to create efficient workforces with stable family lives. Mass-manufactured, uniform, affordable garments, like Levi Strauss’s five pocket blue jeans, provided a new type of consumable clothing for the working classes. Capitalism could profit by creating standardized patterns of dress; new modern clothing systems of provision emerged
• For the poor, there was a pattern of uniformity in the way they dressed. Not only because it was what was looked at in society as the most ideal or simple way of dressing, but because they owned a limited amount of garments
• Even so, it was also about patterns of production and consumption that helped regulate and dictate dress and were forged through a particular system of provision that was connected to the modern ways of organizing society.
• Also in connection to this quote, on page 66 it reads: clothing was one of the first manufacturing industries to spread as increasing wage levels in Europe and America and improvements in communication motivated capital to move clothing production to economies where costs were lower, enabling greater exploitation and accumulation of profits.
Page 68: bilateral arrangements between pairs of countries were negotiated to control the imports of specific types of clothing and textiles. Rather than liberalizing market access, this system constrained trade and was repeatedly renegotiated – in years 1977, 1986, and 1991. The constraints on clothing imports benefited the rich countries as they were slowly able to adjust, rather than experiencing a shock to their economies.
• The global south had limited access to European and north American markets; it increased at around 6 percent a year, as developed markets were partially protected, undeveloped markets on the other hand were not
• Also economics in the world was undergoing a major reconstruction through the second half of the 20th century.
o Even so, there were also social and cultural challenges to the modern ways of organizing societies in terms of art, literature and the full spectrum of cultural life leading to revolutions and protests – “radical” process of stepping out of the box of tradition, into a modern society.
Chapter summary as outlined directly on page 70: “the chapter demonstrates how clothes-making moved from pre-modern artisanal production to the emergence of the fast-fashion system of provision. Across the long are of human history the global circulation of cloth and clothing has been a key force in human development and economic globalization. As apparel is traded around the world, it has contributed to the enrichment of the global north and the poverty of the south. Most importantly, uneven development is a testament to human’ ability both to transcend and to despoil nature”
Chapter Three – The Shadow World of Used Clothing (Seth)
Clothing in Papua New Guinea
– Paragraph starts off by stating that the trade of clothing (borrowing, exchanging and swapping) is not a new concept for the world, and has been done since prehistoric people
– Papua New Guina
– Remote country, mainland of mountainous rainforest surrounded by scattered tropical islands
– Located between the Indonesian archipelago and north coast of Australia
– Main island of NG hosts some of the worlds most inaccessible communities, with limited contact with the modern world
– Clothing here is often very old and worn down
– Lots of stretched and stained shirts, long trousers that have been ripped or worn down to shorts
– Pieces of fabric knotted around their waists like louincloths
– Women may wear lap-laps: Simple wide pieces of fabric tied around the midriff, and maybe a meri blouse, a basic dress or top introduced by missionaries to encourage them to cover up
– Much of the clothing comes from second hand items from Australia or the United states
– Some show logos from their earlier lives (Australian Royal Air Force, to a t0shirt from the waiter at a chili’s grill)
– The few items of modern clothing are generally shared among rural villages
– Name for a tribal celebration
– People don ceremonial costumes that combine feathers, wood, bark and animal skins using techniques that are likely a millennia old
– Men wear fur headdresses, dyed grasses, and wraps woven from jungle vines
– Women wear sea shells traded from coastal regions threaed on necklaces and garlands of flowers
– Faces are also often painted
– These features (face paint, feathers, furs) are not everyday wear but part of the cultural life of the tribes
– “Isolated tribes cherish their limited clothing resources as modern garments are precious and difficult to obtain”
– Previous chapter talks about how the clothing industry spread across the glove, however in rural Papua NG there is little connection to the global economy
– Islated from the capitalist market and therefore many traditional approaches still persist
– Few modern clothes that reach them are second-hand imports from the global North
– “This chapter explores how used clothes have been shared, exchanged and traded between various communities at different historical moments, and how and why second-hand clothes are collected in the global North for resale to communities across the Global South”
Second-hand Clothing in Historical Contexts
– In history, as clothing was generally very expensive and time-consuming to make, it was often shared between people who had little (as it is in Papua NG)
– British Museum has a Roman doll filled with textile rags, showing that even destroyed clothing was probably reused
– In medieval period, old clothing was taken from rich cities to be sold in poorer rural regions
– In Europe, good quality second-hand clothes were prized, and even as valuable to serve as an alternative to currency
– Throughout pre-modern history, used clothes were not discarded but instead passed between different social groups
– Records of second-hand clothing are hard to find (especially prior to improvements in communication)
– Italy 1407: Evidence of a trading guild that dealt in high quality clothes and other used goods in Florence
– Used clothes were also gifted from European feudal masters to their serfs, domestic staff and the local poor
– Evidence in Japan of the vibrant trade in used silk Kimonos
– Many people in this time were what the French called bricoleurs: Skilful or creative individuals who carefully reused textiles in clever ways
– Women would often work at home repairing clothing, until the twentieth century with the development of cheap clothing
– English beggars would often go around looking extremely poor and begging for clothes, which they would then sell to dolly shops (present day thrift stores)
– In parallel with the development of industrial production of apparel, used clothing was gradually becoming something that was considered deviant and associated with crime
– Damaged and deteriorating clothes that could not be re-worn were recycled, providing an input for early industrial processes
– Marx discusses a processes were female workers are exploited in the rag trade
– “The most shameful, the most dirty and the worst paid kinds of labour, and one on which women and young girls are by preference employed is the sorting of rags”
– “They are used for manure, for making bedflocks, for shoddy, and the raw material of paper”
– “The rag-sorters are the medium for the spread of small-pox and other infecious diseases, and they themselves are the first victims”
– Used clothes have been traded around the world for more than a century
– These networks rose both as an outcome and a response to the changing nature of industrial garment manufacturing and the rise of capitalism
– With the growth in clothing manufacturing and rapid development of North America and Europe in the 19th century, the availability of new clothing improved and second-hand distribution became increasingly formalized as a type of charitable handout
– Passed from rich to poor as a charitable donations
– Was often mediated through religious groups, so that people could donate to the church and could avoid direct contact with undesirable underclass and the criminal elements associated with the rag trade
– “Put simply, donors could feel good about themselves”
– The advent of Fordist production and the ‘golden age’ of capitalism filled marketplaces with consumer goods and provided people with disposable income for new clothing
– Modern world repair and reuse of clothing was discouraged
– Wearing out clothes and retaining them did not drive free-market development, it was reliant on a continuous cycle of consumption
– B. Earl Puckett – A leading clothing retailer in United States
– “Basic utility cannot be the foundation of a prosperous apparel industry. We must accelerate obsolescence”
– Manufactured obsolescence, promoted by migrating fashion trends and endless cycles of new production, brought more and more clothes to the market, which would then translate how people saw used clothing through the 20th century
– Clothes were less likely to be used again in the household and were increasingly exchanged in market transacts or donated for reuse
– In cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, prior to WW2, Ragmen would go door to door and trade new commodities (pins, pans and needles) for clothing
– Ragmen would then sell these clothes to otherpoorer households, and ripped and torn garments were wholesaled as shoddy for use in industrial processes (machine wiping or furniture stuffing)
– Formalized culture of donating clothing for reuse also grew, and organizations like the Salvation Army developed extensive networks for collecting and distributing second-hand clothes
– Stores opened up in the UK and North America for providing used clothing at a cheap cost to the urban poor (Value Village, YMCA, etc)
Waste and Clothing Consumption
– The ways in which people thought of used clothing were transformed in the developed economies by the end of the 20th century
– Old clothing became viewed as a form of garbage, and was often thrown away beside food waste and empty packaging
– In the UK, an estimated 1.7 Billion dollars in used clothing goes to landfills each year
– “Purchasing and discarding objects are forms of freedom which override saving an repair”
– Drives the market forward
– “Fashion, by its very nature, is effective in restricting social mobility and places consumers in a never-ending contest of purchases which contribute to expressing their identity”
– “Garments are priced far too low to reflect their true social and ecological value as capital mobility and excess global labor supply enable clothing firms to depress wages and avoid paying environmental costs”
– Up to 70 percent of clothes in a household go unworn and unused (Inactive) as they lose their sense of being new or become unfashionable in the eyes of the owner
– Disposing of these old clothes and creating wardrobe space for the consumption of new commodities is central to the maintenance of capitalist production
– The demand for the American and European poor for second-hand clothes also fell away with the boom in affordable low-end value fashion sold by places such as Target and Walmet
– Encourage mass production by low-paid labor in the global South and continues to drive down real-term prices
– Large boom in the high-end fashion sector as well
– The rest of this chapter goes into explanation about how used clothing is collected and processed in the developed world and distributed to the third world market
Second-hand clothing charities in the UK
– Staines is a commuter town on the outskirts of London
– A dull, grey town that epitomizes Western Suburbia
– Contains many low cost mass market clothing retail stores (Gap, Tesco, TK Maxx, YMCA)
– Use promotional material to help encourage clothing donation
– Help reduce poverty, reduce landfill waste, de-clutter your life (Oxfam)
– Although clothing collection is generally good, there is a dark side to it
– An example of this is from national NGOs such as NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)
– Distributed leaflets in Nottingham of an asian child in the aftermath of a disaster
– Image searches found it to be from Sichuan, China after an earthquake
– The leaflet stated it was helping children in under-developed countries to improve their welfare, but did not mention how they would do this or the name of any charities or organizations
– The only ID were false company registrations and mobile phone numbers
– This problem is also used in things like cancer research, where the pink ribbon is deliberately used to make you think you are donating to breast cancer
– The motivations for deception and theft from actual charitable companies stems from large profits made from exporting second-hand clothes
– Due to these false charitable organizations, many clothing donations enter the Global South as a means of generating money for companies, and not as actual donations for the people there. This is a problem that Brooks does not propose any solution to in the reading, however it seems that he does emphasize it as a large problem in
The Commercial Trade in Second-hand Clothing
– Despite the fake charity collections, many honest organizations such as the YMCA and a number of legitimate commercial companies operate in Europe and NA
– These donations are then transformed into marketable goods
– “The most recent estimates from the Department of the Environment and Rural Affairs show that 523000 tonnes of used lcothing items were collected in 2008 by the secondary textile industry”
– This relates the 23% of the new textiles that were consumed during the same year
– The total volume of clothes recycled has undoubtedly increased since
– Similar processes occur in many countries of the Global North, including Australia, Canada, Germany, the US, etc
– Donated clothes are transformed from waste into re-sellable commodities by collecting charities and commercial recyclers in the global North that sort and grade these clothes for onward sale (This process begins in places like the YMCA shop in Staines)
– Pricing and marketing is undertaken by waged or voluntary workers to reduce costs
– This turns the gift into a commodity
– Because the need for these clothes is not high in places like Staine, other companies such as Choice Textiles take all their unsold shop waste
– They then take these clothes and sell them to overseas markets and worn-out items go for recycling
– Far more clothes are donated than actually old in the UK’s charitable stores
– “Despite accounting for only a small segment of the total used clothing market, charity shops are important as the public face of the second-hand clothing trade. They are a symbolically influential part of the image and material culture of the used clothing system of provision, which encourages people to associate clothing donations with local charitable retail”
– Many companies also sell partnership (through royalty fees) to other companies in order to operate under their name
– An example of this is Help the Aged, which distributes 30 million collect bags per year (13 million of their own, and 17 million from a company called Precycle which gives 50% of their profits to the charity)
– Most of this process is run by volunteers
– There is also a large recurring problem of the difficulty of tracking the transactions and processes that clothing goes through, as they are usually amalgamated and lack transparency
– An example is USA Planet Aid, which was criticed for only 28% of its 36.5 Million in spending going to international aid
– The lines between charity and commerce are becoming increasingly blurred in the second-hand clothing industry
– The British Heart Foundation estimates that only 5% on average is paid to a charity by its commercial partners
– “A long-standing issue in the second-hand clothing sector is the outright theft of used clothing”
– When the price of used clothing is around 1500$ per tonne, there is a large problem with the theft of donation bags
– Drivers of donation trucks are often threatened, their route maps demanded, and followed by unmarked trucks
– A similar problem occurs in Canada, where violent attacks are reported in turf wars between clothing collectors
– “‘People are getting beat up because these things work as a territory [different organizations control certain areas]…. We have orders from the company, like don’t let competition around you.’ This is not a new phenomenon; criminal elements have long been associated with the used clothing trade. In 1939 in the United States, for example, the Salvation Army complained that bags from door-to-door collections were being ‘kidnapped’ and ‘hijacked’”
– People were also shocked to hear that many of the clothing donated does not necessarily go straight to charity shops due to commercial partnerships with charities and charity shops
– Shea and Brennan
– These partnerships were made due to the established market in the Global North becoming less profitable, and developing countries offered new profitable markets to expand to
– Paul Ozanne of the Salvation Army believes people are quite comfortable that only a small proportion of the donated clothing will be worn again by people in need or sold locally, and that the majority is sold overseas to generate profit
– The evidence from Shea and Brennan suggests otherwise to this (See point two up from this)
– The UN has estimated that the second-hand clothing trade was valued at over 4.3$ billion in 2013, however this is likely and undervalue due to the prevalence of smuggled and stolen clothing
– 3.9 million tonnes of old clothing were recorded as being exported globally in 2013
– This total does not include the domestically traded second-hand clothing
– The UK (the second largest exporter of used clothes) reported 612$ million (350000 tonnes) of used clothing to the top five destinations of Poland, Ghana, Pakistan, Ukraine and Benin (Usually from migrant communities as they have connections and entrepeneurial skills that charities lack)
– Importing of second-hand clothing to Africa is explored in depth in Chapter 6
Oxfam Wastesaver: Processing Clothes for Export
– Clothing must be processed before being exported to the GS (Sorting, grading, packaging)
– This usually is undertaken in large industrial units
– Oxfam is the second largest collector in Britain (approximately 3% total)
– Differs from most charities in that it has its own processing plant, Wastesaver, which is described by Tony Clark (general manager) as “Oxfam’s rag merchant in crude terms”
– Wastesaver receives 200 tonnes of unsold goods from Oxfam shops per week, which accounts for 74% of all the charity’s donations
– The clothes are graded between export (60%), niche lines for sale in the UK (8-10%) and recycling (25-28%)
– The plant this is operated out of runs like a typical modern factory (conveyor belts, time cards, managers overseeing the labor process)
– Has two models of exporting clothing in either 40 ft or 20 ft containers
– This is standard practices in the used clothing trade
– Clients in the global south purchase the containers that contain 550-600 different bales (100 lb groups of clothing) of a different mixtures (ie. 35 bales of mens t-shirts, 2 bales of bras, etc)
– Oxfam requires payment in advance, as these containers are usually sold for 20,000E and would have people sometimes pay in cash in envelopes (Possible corruption) from African Companies
– The second method that Oxfam employs is an attempt to address some of the ethical issues that surround the trade
– Attempts to create local jobs by performing the sorting operation in groups of 450 kg bales from a sorting plant in Dakar, Senegal
– Sorts and grades clothing for sale by local traders
– They talk about how they pay the full duty in order to do this, and take a huge commercial disadvantage in-country in order to promote the used clothing trade on an ethical basis
– This is all discussed further in chapter 6
The Second-hand and New Clothing Trades in Global Context
– This part is the conclusion for the chapter, and summarizes what has been covered and explained
– The chapter has traced how the history of the second-hand trade has been important in structuring the contemporary systems of used-clothing provision
– Explains the long traditions of donating and gifting used clothing and today’s cultural pressures in the Global North
– “Second-hand clothing is sold as a commodity in the market-based transactions and primarily bought by the poor in the Global South. Consumption is served by the market”
Chapter 4 – Cotton is the Mother of Poverty (Seth)
Africa and Global Markets
– African cotton is exported to china to make thread for khaki and denim fabrics
– Africa offers a good client and water system able to sustain cotton growth
– Around Egypt with the Nile
– Many people in Malawi, Africa, are switching from tobacco to cotton as the market for cotton rises from Chinese and Asian textile manufacturers, and retail markets in the GN rise
– The next few paragraphs in this chapter just go on to explain the history of the Cotton growing trade
– “Although pre-European locally produced commodities also formed patterns of exchange in the seventeenth century, eventually the balance of trade would shift decisively with greater European engagement in West Africa, not just by the Portuguese, but by other powers which followed in their wake”
– The emergence of capitalism and the business mentalities that followed it enabled Europeans to dominate more profitable trade networks
– Cheaper mass-manufactured imports emerged from the early development of textile factories in Britain (and elsewhere) which undermined local African production
– This restricted the further development of early artisan manufacturing in Africa, explaining why industrial capitalism failed to develop in West Africa
– Independent African feudal leaders across the continent were easily supplanted by the English, Belgians, French, etc, who had superior arms, communications and other technologies.
– Allowed them to establish and grow trading networks in Africa, later to extend administrative and governing powers across it
– Caused violent wrestles between foreign sovereign powers and the local chiefs and kings who wanted to wrestle their executive powers from them
– Berlin conference in 1884 ‘Scramble for Africa’
– German chancellor Otto von Bismarck and other European representatives carved up Africa, giving nearly all of it to European control
– Eventually all of Africa would fall under European control, if not formal colonialism
– “Colonization transformed the mode of production as local economic systems built on tribute and tribal loyalties were forcibly integrated into a global, European-dominated capitalist political economy”
– Colonialism had different effects on men and women
– Women generally cultivated the cash crops (cotton, tea, cocoa) while men undertook waged employment and handled the money
– “Exploitation was based on cultural difference, and through a cruel new mode of production surplus value was extracted from the labour of native people, by the colonial rulers paying low prices for crops, providing low wages for workers or enforcing high taxation on Africans, which left the continent severely impoverished”
Cotton in Colonial Mozambique
– Prior to Portuguese colonialism, Mozambique was not a pre-capitalist paradise
– Indigenous societies had their own injustices, but colonialism led to a new level of severe oppression
– Colonialism began to expand much more quickly after the Berlin Conference of 1884 as the European leaders felt they had to show their control over their African parts
– Portugal, who was poor, led to harsh ad punitive demonstrations of authority in Africa
– They did not have the capital either to fund an initial investment into Africa in order to colonize
– Mozambique exported their cotton exclusively to Portugal until the early 1970s
– Every man between 18-55 was expected to pick 2.5 acres of cotton, and every man and women between 56-60 was expected to pick 1.5 acres of cotton
Cotton and Structural Adjustment in Cote D’Ivoire
– One key policy in Mozambique was price control, which meant that the price paid for their cotton was way below the world market rate
– However, in the past it has not always been abused and many African states inherited agricultural marketing boards that set prices
– “Once free from French colonialism, successful early economic development in Côte d’Ivoire was based on expanding export crop production, predominantly of coffee and cocoa, but also cotton”
– Caisses de stabilisation – State Marketing Boards
– Cotton and other export crops began providing revenue to help government develop strategies in many independent African nations in 1960-early 80s
– One problem arose when cotton dropped from 5.05$/kg to 1.34$/kg in 2000
– Also, in the 1970s, Cote D’ivoire had been undertaking unsustainable government spending maintained by borrowing money and inaccurate future crop revenue predictions
– African nations made similar mistakes and they were then encouraged to borrow from the global market
– Led to struggles to keep up with debt repayments
– SAPs were then set up in Africa, which included things like reduced investment and freeze on government salaries
– These SAPs obviously had very negative effects on social and economic development in the GS
– “Throughout much of Africa the impacts were great, bringing hardships to some of the most vulnerable communities, including the urban poor, who faced increased prices for basic necessities. African nations could not compete on the world market and SAPs hampered agricultural and industrial development as domestic markets for local produced goods lost protection. These crude programmes provided a shock to fragile economies, leading to stagnation”
– SAPs also liberalized markets for agricultural products in Cote D’ivoire, removing marketing board price and exposing farmers to market price
Economic Liberalization and Cotton Subsidies
– Conditions in the 1990s and early 2000s improved for some farmers in West and Central Africa which led to reductions in poverty
– Despite positive trends, many question the sustainability of cotton prices as they are heavily influenced by US subsidies as well as the long-term downward trend in commodity prices
– Oxfam has raised this issue regarding Mali, the second largest cotton producer and one of the poorest countries in the world
– Trade-distorting subsidies and pressure from the World Bank and IMF to increase the role of the market are leading to the destabilization of rural livelihoods
– “Economic liberalization and the removal of price controls are policies promoted by decision-makers in the global North, especially bureaucrats in Washington, who advocate free trade as a solution to the problem of poverty in Africa’s rural communities”
– This may seem true, but the largest dispenser of cotton subsidies and price support until recent was the USA
– This shields them from price volatility and distorts the world cotton market by deflating international prices and allows American farmers to remain the largest exporters of cotton
Chapter 5: Made in China and Africa (Jaskaran)
• Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles factory is on the northern outskirts of Kabwe which is a city in the centre of Zambia (pg. 118)
o 1970s factory/modern industrial plant
o It was promoted for 4 decades as the focus of Zambian industrial development and an icon of Chinese-African friendship
• The factory was a failed attempt at industrial modernization proving uncompetitive in the global clothing marketplace (pg. 118)
• ZCMT was one of many failed African industrial projects (pg. 119)
• One a global scale sub-Saharan Africa manufactures a small proportion of finished clothes?tiny slice of new clothing consumption
• Beijing’s rapid rise was due in part to its involvement in African clothing production
• China is the largest market for African cotton
• Chinese management approaches were introduced and rejected in African textile factories
• Africa was considered a new place for investment and a spatial fix for the over accumulation of Chinese capital
• Capital was invested via huge sovereign wealth funds?annual trade between China and Africa is currently more than $160 billion US
• Colonialism’s impact remains through absence of development in the garment sectors
• Africa’s experiences in textile/clothing trade contributed to why economic performance and development was abysmal
• Clothing industry failed along with other industrial sectors, contributing to poverty
• China’s national development benefitted from its involvement in Africa and established the world’s largest clothing and textile sectors (pg. 119)
• China’s influence over the global economy is due to (1) dramatic growth rate, (2) huge labour force, (3) an increasing openness (on its own terms) to trade (pg. 120)
• China exerts its influence through export of cheap goods AND the way Chinese firms and investors determine the relative value of labour, flows of investment, and prices of financial assets the global cost of manufactured products has been reduced by Chinese expansion?affects industrial development everywhere
• The rise of China, even though the Global South had the same potential workforce, was because Africa and South America were heavily indebted by SAPs and experienced social crises
o Also quality of Chinese labour was better because workers were well educated, healthy, could self-manage (pg. 120)
• Economic success of China was NOT because of neoliberalism and a “rolling back” of the state? built by Mao-era government pre-1980s (pg. 121)
• Chinese reforms protected domestic economy, unlike the “shock therapies externally imposed on Africa through structural adjustment programmes which suddenly and viciously cracked open markets” (pg. 121)
• In early 1980s the Chinese state sector played the dominant role in clothing and textile exports and helped establish the industry, THEN private firms gradually took over?matchmakers then linked overseas investment to Chinese labour reserve (pg. 122)
African Attempts at Industrial Modernization:
• Kenya built a large clothing sector in the 1960s under an import substitution industrial strategy (pg. 126)
• Nigerian clothing manufacturers employed 200 000 workers at its peak
• Zambia had over 25 000 workers in the 1980s, including in the ZCMT factory
• In the 1960s China began to build relations with Africa?helped them build the massive Tanzania-Zambia railway (TAZARA) linking the Zambian copperbelt to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania
• Also supported the development of integrated cotton and clothing production programmes in 8 countries, each of which employed thousands of workers (pg. 126)
• ZCMT established between 1977-1981
o Operated from 1982-1996 as a Zambian state-owned enterprise (pg. 126-127)
• Workers received high wages, steady welfare policy supporting employees and dependents with housing, education and health care (pg. 127)
• Pattern of production was similar to the Fordist model of industrial development found in European and North American clothing factories in the 1950s and 1960s
• Institutional pattern was that economic growth advanced capitalist countries in the post-war boom
• Zambia, Kenya, Ghana and others attempted to follow a different development model to China’s low wage levels and exploitation of labour (pg. 127)
• Its capitalist social relations which enable labour exploitation was met by unbridled market forces that drive the value of labour-power down to a minimum (pg. 128)
• On a global scale, Fordist production approaches in clothing industries was becoming increasingly uncompetitive by the 1980s and 1990s
• High production costs in Europe, North America and Africa VS cheap manufacturing in China
o This at some time Zambia and other African economies underwent economic liberal (pg. 128)
? This transformed their labour practices and exposed their industries to increased domestic competition and reduced local market for clothing (pg. 128-129)
• Fordist-style modernization in Zambia broke down during period of economic crisis in the late 1980s-ealy 1990s (pg. 129)
o Mines and other state enterprises were privatized
• Casualization is the feature of wage employment
o Enabled greater surplus accumulation from workers’ labour
o Salaries decrease under casual conditions
o Health care was avoided
• ZCMT was faced with financial difficulties
o Individual increased competition
o Began to declines from early 1990s
• ZCMT was forced to close in 1996
• Decrease in clothing factories across Africa in 1980s and 1990s?”…the decline was shaped by the continents’ neoliberal transformation”
• African countries accumulated debts in the 1980s and were forced to implement SAPs
o New political economy orthodoxy spread
• Governments were forced to adopt a new model based on laissez-faire free market economics
• Neoliberal model industrial development was only possible with reduced state control and liberalizing markets
o “In reality these structural changes actually disadvantaged most African clothing manufacturers as governments were no longer able to protect textile factories and thus local markets contracted.”
• Example of South Africa?clothing industries declined as local retailers took advantage of market liberalization under the ANC government after 1994?sourced clothing from Chinese and other Asian producers
o Look at source 17 in book
• In Kenya clothing manufacturers had weak markets in towns and cities due to declining urban incomes (pg. 129)
• Decrease in demand for locally manufacturers new clothing in 1990s was combined with competition from cheap competitors AND used clothing from Global North countries (pg. 129-130)
• In Ghana textile and clothing employment fell by 80% from 1975-2000 (pg. 130)
• In Zambia it went down from 25 000 to below 10 000 in 2002
• In Nigeria the 200 000 person workforce almost disappeared
China’s New Investments in Africa:
• Economic liberalization opened African economies up new investment opportunities for foreign capital
• Late 1990s and early 2000s increased in Chinese engagement in Africa?major area of interest for policymakers and scholars
• Chinese investment was a new means of exploitation of natural resources such as Zambian copper and Sudanese oil
• Chinese foreign direct investment and trade had grown
• Many African populist media and NGO repots in the Global North and Africa had negative portrayals of Chinese people in Africa
• Western critics saw that Chinese corporations lacked basic human rights
o It could have been concealed anger at their comparative economic advantage (pg. 130)
o Also controversies on natural resource extraction and workers’ safety (pg. 131)
• Chinese stage gave incentives to encourage clothing firms to expand overseas
• MFA developed because of competition from Asian manufacturers
o Prior to 2005 there was special trade preferences given to Africa through the EU Lomé arrangement
o USA’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) gave African clothing products tariff-free access to the Global North
? The Chinese took advantage of this
o Resurrected the ZCMT (pg. 131)
Casualization of Labour Abuses at ZCMT:
• Another Chinese company invested in ZCMT in 1997 (pg. 132)
• Here was a social divide within the factory between the managed and managers (Africans VS Chinese ) (pg. 133)
• Introduced casualization and strict discipline
• Profits at the expense of welfare policies (pg. 133)
• “It was like slavery…In Zambia there is unemployment. If you left this job you would not get work elsewhere…” (pg. 134)
• The capitalist mode drove wages down to below the subsistence level (pg. 134)
• Strict discipline =respect for regulations=increased speed and output=more profit (pg. 136)
• Global capitalist competitions in the clothing sector resulted in terrible working conditions (pg. 137)
• “Chinese managers…were a conduit for neo-liberal globalization and introduced the new harsh working regime to Africa.”
• Labour exploitation enabled them to extract more surplus-value from the workforce
• Foreign investment failed to lift Zambians out of poverty (pg. 137)
• Rapid capitalist development is dependent upon the exploitation of labour in the Global South (pg. 138)
• Zambia introduced a minimum wage in June 2006 (pg. 139)
o The factory closed down as a response to protests and minimum wage/benefits demands in December 2006
• Trade agreements such as AGOA began to expire in 2005 as the MFA drew to a close (pg. 139)
o Exposed African production to competition in home and foreign markets (pg. 139-140)
• Macroeconomic climate made ZCMT uncompetitive (pg. 140)
• Author proposes that “Instead of debating the consequences of wage suppression for one set of clothing makers compared to those in another location in a temporary stalling of a race to the bottom for labour standards, the problem of the uneven development of capitalism needs to be confronted”?doesn’t give an actual solution yet (pg. 141)
Chapter 6: Second-Hand Africa (Jaskaran)
• NFL and the evangelical Cristian charity World Vision sends clothing of Superbowl losers’ team to the Global South (mostly Africa) (pg. 143)
o Get a hefty tax deduction from this
? NBA, NHL, MLB do the same
• These donations undermine local clothing markets and contribute to forging relations of dependence
o Deprives poor people of work and dignity (pg. 143)
• Donated items are resold by recipients (pg. 144)
• “Weak domestic clothing industries lost protection as economic liberalization was introduced via the IMF and World Bank-sponsored structural adjustment programmes.” (pg. 144)
• Imported used clothing and East Asia outcompeted locally produced goods while factories closed across the continent (pg. 144-145)
• Export destinations were picked by cheapest shipping routes to available markets and depend on existing trade geographies (pg. 146)
• The used-clothing system of provision was a shifting process rather than a structure
• Demand exceeds supply across Africa (pg. 146)
• Suppliers control the packing list?allows them to maximize profit which shows that exporters in the Global North have ascendency over their customers in the Global South (pg. 149-150)
o They include low-grade, unpopular items in batches of high-grade products to make more profit (pg. 150)
• “Business strategies in the Global North increase the profitability of exports, but reduce the opportunities for African companies to accumulate capital from the import and sale of second-hand clothing .” (pg. 150)
Nigeria: Economic Turmoil
• Smuggling of 2nd-hand clothing in Africa’s most populous and pivotal country (pg. 152)
• Super-rich cities of Victoria Island and Lekki VS mainland Lagos which is poverty-stricken (pg. 153)
• Affluence in Nigeria comes from vast oil reserves which have been pumped out of the Niger Delta for 5 decades and account for 90% of export earnings
o Hasn’t brought development though (pg. 153)
• State was authoritarian and managed to make the $400 billion in oil wealth disappear since the 1960s (pg. 154)
• Lack of taxation results in no social welfare programs
• State attempted to protect domestic clothing industries but the policies failed
• In 1989 almost 96% of tariff line for textiles and clothing were subject to import prohibition regimes?attempt to promote domestic manufacturing and wean the economy off oil dependency (pg. 154)
• Followed an import substitution approach to industrialization (pg. 155)
o Weren’t implemented effectively because of the weakness of the state institutions and Nigeria was one of the largest markets for 2nd-hand clothing in the world
• 75-80% of used clothing in West Africa is finally retailed in Nigeria (pop. Of 160 million) (pg. 155)
• “Corruption is a reality of the socio-political context of many states in Africa, but is also an outcome of opportunities presented by the weakening of African governments in response to structural adjustments and destabilization cause by neocolonialism” (pg. 157)
• “Economic liberalization has not provided opportunities for individual impoverished Africans to become entrepreneurs and rise out of poverty; it has instead served the interests of a narrow elite” (pg. 157)
• “With the liberalization of the second-hand clothing market, the already deteriorating textiles and clothing industry was severely affected…as a result, some of the major factories could not compete with the cheaper prices offered by the second-hand clothing industry and they were forced to close…the consequences to the clothing industry were devastating.” (pg. 158)
• Factories failed when state-owned firms were privatized and suffered from profiteering and poor management (pg. 159)
• SAPs weakened border controls?increased competitive pressure (pg. 159)
Chapter 5: Made in China and Africa (Nargis)
• Zambia China Mulungushi Textile Factory- Zambian & Chinese government, partnered up and tried to revive the factories in Africa that had failed within the economy
• Africa’s failed attempt at industrial modernization proving uncompetitive in the global clothing market
• China- largest market for African clothes- clothes from China sold in every single street market
• Africa’s experiences in textile & clothing trade illustrate some of the reasons for the dire economic performances and the absence of development across the continent
• Africa- downward spiral of clothing industry- this helps explain causes/consequences of poverty
• China- Established world’s largest clothing/textile sectors- this helped drive national development
• Chinas influence over global economy due to 3 factors: 1) Dramatic growth rate 2)huge labour force 3)increasing openness to trade
• Global influence exerted through cheap goods & the ways Chinese firms and investors determine the value of labour, flows of investment, & prices of financial assets
• China- competitive, can produce labour intensive products on a massive scale
• Reasons why China was an attractive destination for surplus capital investment in 1980s & 1990s: Workers well educated, healthy, had capacity for self- management
• Boom in garment sector: state sector played dominant role in clothing/textile exports, helped est. industry, then private firms took over
• East Asia and Global North used Cultural ties to help open up new territory for capital
• State established Special Economic Zones (SEZs) along Eastern seaboard to provide tax inducements to attract foreign investment
• Early 1990s- common for female workers to spend 7 days/70 hours a week in factories
• China expanded to low cost areas/low wage labour, moved to the coastal factories
• Work for migrant employees: hard, conditions were difficult, tasks were repetitive, often physically demanding, industrial accidents common
• Young women were separated from families, lived in dormitories with 6 or more to one room, sharing one toilet- example of labour exploitation
• ^ this in turn lead to industrial growth, “Chinese Prison Labour”
• “Sweatshop” becoming ubiquitous phrase with poor labour standard in Chinese clothing factories
• After outcries from NGOs. Churches, student groups, clothing companies began to introduce codes of conduct/ethical standards to the factories of their suppliers (This can be used as an example for a solution to labor exploitation)
African attempts at Industrial modernization
• Modern clothing production believes to offer engine for economic growth & social transformation
• Zambia was model for African development, moving towards economic & political independence through industrialization
• Workers in mining sectors: had high wages, housing, education, & health care
• Mining sector: pattern of production, similar to the Fordist model of industrial development found in European and North American clothing factories in the 1950s and 1960s
• ^ brought economic growth to countries in the post war boom
• Zambia: fordist style failed during period of national economic crisis in late 1980s and early 1990s
• Government forced to adopt a model based on laissez- faire free market economies
• Within this neoliberal model, industrial development only pressured to be possible by reducing state control and liberalizing markets
• ^disadvantaged most African clothing manufactures as government were no longer able to protect textile factories, thus local markets contracted
Chinas new investment in Africa
• Investments from China: led to new exploitation of natural resources (Zambian copper & Sudanese’s oil)
• These investment built Mozambique national football stadium & Malawi’s parliament building (example of Global South escaping a sense of poverty)
• With China’s assistance, Mulungushi factories machinery began to produce again
• Employers pay low wages & do not proved social welfare benefits in recognition of workers basic rights (casual conditions for employment are common throughout clothing industries in the global south) *example of labour exploitation*
• Zambia: Wages very low for standard of living- could not provide for their families, just part of households livelihood survival strategy
Disciple and Profit
• Changes to work patterns at Mulungushi made workers feel like “slaves” or “school children”
• Workers exploited by non-stop work & unsafe working environments
Labour discontent and the Closure of Mulungushi Textiles
• Workers organize collectively by going against their ill- treatment by Chinese managements at Mulungushi- even though the workers went through with the strike, no action was taken to help the workers
• Closure of Mulungushi due to market forces, financial difficulties, pressure for higher wages, & discontent workers
Chapter 6: Second-hand Africa (Nargis)
• Every year, large surplus of unwanted championship merchandise, donated
• People argue that these donations are “bad aid” as these clothing items are all already available in the countries that are being donated to
• Argument against: gifts undermine local clothing markets & contributes to forging relationships of dependence, depriving poor people of work & dignity
Second-hand Clothes in Africa
• Sub-Saharan Africa: one of major marketplaces for second-hand clothing imports in 1980s
• Weak domestic clothing industries lost protection as economic liberalization was introduced via IMF & World Bank- sponsored structural adjustment programmes
• Imported used clothing & cheaper new garments and textiles from East Africa, outcompeted locally produced goods while factories closed across continent *example of how Global south remains in poverty*
• Used clothing provides major source of garments in many African Nations
• Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania ( MeTL)- largest textile manufactures in Sub-Saharan Africa
• ^ one of the first businesses in trade- had sufficient capital as well as existing warehouses and distribution network *example of solutions for Global South to get out of Poverty*
• Tanzania’s had diasporic connections in the U.S and Europe who could link MeTl to supplies of used clothing bales
• Cultural networks builds trust between supplies and markets and helped decrease exports of low-quality stock
• Firms & individuals invest in building relationships and may depend on family or kinship ties rather than minimizing costs *this can be used as an example as to why Global South has issues getting out of poverty*
• Trading relationships are built on shared cultural heritage and international laws
• ^ connections and personal ties can help ensure profitability
Nigeria: Economic Turmoil
• Affluence in Nigeria primarily comes directly or indirectly from oil reserves- accounts for 90% export earnings
• Oil wealth brought little meaningful development to most Nigerians, leaving them as poor consumers who live in poverty
• Quality of life of average is extremely low
• States with weak institutions and poor fiscal management- weakens the inflow of money from natural resources exports in several ways:
• ^Oil revenues reduce the impetus for domestic taxation, Government institution and bureaucracies lack authority, budgets are not managed transparently
• Oil shapes all economic activity in Nigeria
• Import controls were never implanted effectively due to the weaknesses of state institutions and the fact that Nigeria is one of the largest markets for second-hand clothing in the world
• For Nigerians- used clothing = cheaper alternative to expensive domestically produced garments
• Second-hand clothing trade has negative impacts on African development due to illegal trade practices
Used Clothing Imports and the Decline of African Clothing Industries
• Used clothing has outcompeted & displaced African clothing manufactures in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria
• Second- hand clothing importers- “killing” local textile and garment sectors
• ^ however, not main cause of clothing industries failing; ultimate cause of crises has been economic liberalization
• ^ incomes decline, reducing Africans purchasing power, in turn depressing demand
• Factories failed when state owned firms privative and suffered from poor management
• Clothes able to flow between countries when SAPs weakened boarder control
• ^ increasing competitive pressure for African produces in regional markets
Chapter 7 (German)
Growth without development
– Mozambique held up by the main Western donors as one of the continent’s major success stories”
– “example of a nation that has moved from warfare to peace and stability, as well as from economic stagnation to rapid growth”
o Followed dual policy prescription of democracy and pro-market liberal reforms
o It is portrayed as a success story for its growth, but poverty is still high and its political story is being altered to fit this narrative
o “these platitudes are for an international audience”
? Goal: show other nations that they should adopt market-friendly policies and structural adjustment programs.
o Political success? ? one part (Fremilo) has governed the country since independence in 1975.
– Industrialization constrained by: Portuguese and then by a civil war supported by white rulers from Rhodesia
– Insecurity restricted the emergence of clothes manufacturing
– Structural adjustment programs implemented in 1987
– Peace has been hard-won, but the country has not been successful in combatting poverty.
o Peace led to growth in the late 1990s, and the establishment of an aluminum industry which employs very few people.
o “discoveries of coal and gas have fuelled economic expansion, although financial gains are unevenly distributed”
– “growth has as yet created limited jobs and has had a less than desirable impact on poverty reduction”
– followed a laissez-faire approach towards national development
– Did not rely on labour-intensive industry but instead on the extraction of natural resources
o GDP growth, but limited employment
– Small clothes and textile industries have done poorly since collectivism was abandoned
o Factories were privatized: “owners lacked capital, management capacity and competence”
? Bosses stripped factories to enrich themselves
? Factories used for selling second-hand clothing
? Deindustrialization was repeated in many different industries.
o Second-hand clothing was allowed into the reformed market.
– SAPs: fall of incomes and decline of basic services severely affected businesses
o Ex: Texmoque, a small private textile factory, was forced to close due to a lack of materials and electricity
o Early 2000s, clothing factories began to be left idle
? “failure of local manufacturing provided further opportunity for cheap imports of new and used clothing”
– There has been modest growth in Mozambique’s clothing sector because “export oriented factories have relocated from South African to southern Mozambique due to lower wage levels”
– South Africa sets unrealistically progressive labour market policies which makes profits impossible
o In Mozambique, there is a race to the bottom for labour standards in the garment sector
– Current economic policies: “Mozambicans unlikely to ever get jobs in industries like clothes making, and many more have to engage in informal ways of making a living, such as selling imported second-hand clothes”
– “used clothes are the only garments available for the impoverished population”
o Second hand clothes from Australia, Europe, North America arrive to Mozambique via the Indian Ocean and then get sold
o Despite reforms, arranging imports requires contact, to avoid confiscation and additional fees
? State-capture (the confiscation of good for the personal gain of a political party) has forced importers to rely on under-the-table payments and bribes
o Misuse of state office has contributed to inequality: only a few have access to imports.
– Used clothes are imported from the global North by an array of firms, they go through grading and sorting facilities (somewhere with cheap labour) and then re-exported.
o Throughout the whole chain of supply, we take advantage of special economic zones and low regulations.
– “import firms like Maputo have specialist warehouses (armazens) where second hand clothing bales are stored and sold. Local market traders buy the intact bales and sell the individual clothing items to consumers”
o “shipments of second-hand clothing are irregular and the inconsistency of supply creates problems”
– Warehouses try to get rid of their merchandise as soon as possible, so they sell in bulk to a handful of local merchants who dictate prices
– Two main risks exist in second-hand clothing trading:
o Currency fluctuations
o Poor quality clothing.
– “Risks to profits are passed on from wholesalers to market traders, reflecting the power relations in this system of provisions”
o Importers’ contracts with suppliers are in U.S dollars
? Mozambique currency weakens, and the price goes up, but if the Mozambique current strengthens, the price remains the same
– Warehouses and politicians have close ties
– Price inflation is cause for complaint, but the worst this that happens is bas quality stock
– Stock quality is the major factor in profit
o Unequal relationship between importers ad market traders because: all of the risks are taken by the market traders
– Bales are sold sealed and unopened, the local traders must deal with the varying quality
– Hygiene concerns are a practical concern and a matter of dignity
o Wet articles can damage an entire package
o Ghana, for this reason, has banned second-hand underwear, to the disdain of some consumed (second-hand is still better than some new products).
? Exemplifies inequality in global clothing systems of provision
– Each bale bought is a game of chance.
– Not only quality but also size is a gamble ? second hand clothing form the United States is too big because Americans are fat bastards.
– Some garments still have the tag of used-clothing retail shops where they were not sold
– Research that has emerged has tended to paint a positive picture on account of the employment created by the second-hand clothing industry.
o “very valuable self-employment opportunities for informal traders, as well as advantages for consumers and the economy as a whole”
o “second-hand clothing trade directly or indirectly affects 5 million people through employment and income generation”
? Simone Field
– Research has highly overestimated the amount of people affected by this industry
o Central Bureau of Statistics (Ghana), states about 103961.
o 8 percent of the total of small and medium sized entreprises.
– Some start trading with money from other trades or with credit from moneylenders
o Retailing used clothing is a livelihood born out of necessity because of the SAPs.
– Price variations add risk to the business model
o Variable clothing trends in the global North can affect the livelihood of vendors because of the business model
? Market traders can sell used shirts for double the warehouse price, but frequently remain with the same stock for a long time – days on end with no sales.
? It is the relative movement, not the prices, that determines profits
• Slow sales and poor quality stock means vendors are unable to escape poverty.
– Second-hand clothes trading is a relatively good job, but vendors are still very poor.
o Variability of items makes saving money hard (and impossible to expand)
o Vendors look to a future that could provide them with formal work
o Working in the market is an adaptive response to the lack of development
– One significant importer has an alternative business model
o Humana ADPP sells used clothes in its own shops
o Provides job opportunities and cheap clothing
o Profits fund HIV/AIDS projects
o Collects clothes in global north themselves.
Humana ADPP operates under many names worldwide and is associated with illegal activities. Its founder is a wanted man.
– Humana highlights the concealed trade practices and criminality that are prevalent in the international second-hand clothing trade
– The poor in Africa cannot dwell on the controversies associated with used clothing systems of provision ? poverty frames their purchasing decisions.
– “People do things in Africa to revalue used clothing”
o Redefines used clothing as new garments
– “They are reaction to availability and using labor to add, enhance or select value”
– Cultural diffusion affects the symbolic value of each product
o “International media presents aspiration imagery that in turn influences the clothing industry
– “Fashion tastes in the Global South are influenced by the Northern dominated new fashion systems of provision, which affects the symbolic value of second-hand clothing”
– What is consumed is an adaptive response to the available goods
– Decision making is framed by the affordability and material use-value of garments
– “Consumption in the global North is restricting the vibrancy of clothing culture in impoverished communities”
Chapter 8 (German)
Old Clothes and New Looks
– Old and vintage clothing plays a role in comminities around the world
– “evidence shows how some individuals give textiles a new lease of life and re-create their own creolized trends”
– “retro second-hand clothing emerged as a countercultural practice when people began to browse markets, charity shops and thrift shops out of curiosity rather than necessity”
– “Interest in vintage clothing has crossed over and steadily become co-oprted into the mainstream as retro trends are remade by fast fashion brands”
o “certain used clothing articles become invested with enhanced symbolic value” depending on the social context.
– “cultural ‘progress’ should be considered critically, as urban change often results in displacements and uneven development”
o He is referring to the “gentrification in the North’s global cities”
– New designers try to recreate the “live-in” model
– “before second-hand jeans are considered valuable, a highly specific type of labour activity is required”
o “this type of work can create new value and wealth”
– “surplus is produced during these various specialized labour activities and the cost of vintage goods is inflated”
o Vintage clothing “is continually co-produced as the symbolic value is enhanced when it market in different social contexts:”
o Consumers are not “paying for the cost of a item, but supporting a system of provision”
– “Cultural economy that surrounds consumption […] is all part of the social landscape that enables vintage clothing systems of provision”
– vintage fashion: bringing items with use-value back to the market and amplifying their symbolic value
– “this system of provision was not spawned by market relations alone; it depended upon particular and cultural events, which shaped production and consumption
o ex: second hand jeans industry of American soldiers in Japan emerged out of conquest and occupation
– Despite existing local brands, there is consumer necessity for vintage U.S products
– Even if Japan exports the best jeans all over the world, there is still demand for vintage U.S products.
– Second-hand clothing in Papua New Guinea comes from Australia, mirroring the overall dependency of the country on Australia.
– As with many developing nations, Papua New Guineau has grown to become dependent on used clothing imports.
– “Systems of provision are shaped by interactions between cultura and political economy”
– India: hub for sorting and grading second-hand clothes from North America to be re-exported in even poorer areas.
o Destination for recycling rags and clothing waste
– Philippines: flourishing clothing industry that produces for both the domestic market and the global North, but also a burgeoning second-hand clothing trade.
o Second-hand clothing may be of higher quality than locally produced goods.
– Market traders have shifted from selling new local to used foreign clothes because of higher profits
o Shows inequalities of globalization
o Some people who manufacture may end buying their own products but used years later.
o Area of consumption of new clothes ? rich
o Areas of production and consumption of second-hand clothes ? poor
? Reinforced by the system of provision
– Solution: upcycling ? old clothes as the basis for fresh fashions.
– ¬Woman in Mozambique feels like she is creating something beautiful instead of just reselling what the rich did not want
– Exports of second-hand clothes forge relationships of dependency between the global North and South.
Chapter 7: Persistent Poverty (Veronika)
Growth without development in Mozambique
o Mozambique is widely championed as an example of nation that has moved from warfare to peace and stability, as well as from economic stagnation to rapid growth. It is believed that it was achieved by following the dual Western policy prescriptions of dmocracy and pro-market liberal economic reforms.
o It is true that the country was in peace for over twenty years and experienced economic growth. However, Mozambique is a place of persistent poverty where levels of impoverishment rival those of war-torn states. (state experienced a growing economy without a sustained and meaningful reduction in poverty)
o Mozambique has been ruled by Frelimo party since gaining independence from Portugal in 1975. Frelimo led the freedom struggle and later fervently supported Mandela’s ANC through the final years of apartheid.
o Frelimo was once dedicated to Marxism. However, over 4 decades Frelimo has faced many challenges, which have made it difficult to steer the nation away from impoverishment and have led man of the party cadres to abandon their socialist ideology
o Mozambique’s industrial development was aggressively constrained: by Portuguese colonialism and later by civil war (fuelled by support of insurgents from the white minority regimes in neighboring Rhodesia and South Africa) –> Mozambique was left desperately poor.
o Under pressure from West –> World Bank and IMF inspired structural adjustment programme was implemented in 1987
o Peace was made in 1992, after Frelimo embraced further free market reforms under the guidance of donors –> however, no success in combating poverty
o piece dividend led to growth in 1990s and establishment of of an important aluminum processing industry –> but which employs few people; discoveries in coal and gas reserves fuelled economic expansion –> financial gains unevenly distributed.
o “growth has as yet created limited jobs and has had a less than desirable impact on poverty reduction ” (African Development Bank)
o Frelimo moved in different direction –> embraced economic liberalization. –> new policies have not fostered the type of economic growth that is based on the establishment of old fashioned labor-intensive industry –> but promoted extraction of natural resources –> GDP growth but limited employment.
o As a result, private owners lacked capital, management capacity and competence.
o The pattern of decentralization was repeated in other economic sectors such as cashew-nut processing, flour mills and furniture manufacturing
o Industry stugnated. –> clothing sector faced myriad problems because of the wider socio-economic impacts of SAPs in Mozambique. –> urban incomes fell. (e.g. on p.165 top paragraph)
o since mid-2000s growth in clothing sector, but 2000 workers only. One of the reasons of growth –> export-oriented factories have relocated from South Africa to southern Mozambique due to lower wage levels.
Second-hamd clothing imports and wholesale
o Second-hand clothing come from Australia, Europe and North America –> sold in Mozambique –> exported too Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia
o Corruption is commonplace in Mozambique –> state capture by a narrow elite within Frelimo means that importers have to make backhanded and under-the-table payments to ensure their goods are allowed into the country
o Misuse of state office contributed to rising inequality and explains why economic growth in not reacting the poorest Mozambicans.
o UN data shows that $55,3 million worth of used clothing was exported to Mozambique in 2012, equal to 52 million tonnes of garments, or the equivalent of 99 million pairs of jeans or 423 million T-shirts.
o Import firms in Maputo have specialist warehouses (armazens) where clothing bales are stored and sold.
o Shipments of second-hand clothing are irregular and the inconsistency of supply creates problems.
o Armazens send text messages to traders advertizing new and discounted second-hand clothing bales. –> the rate of transactions is an important determiner of profitability. –> Armazens attempt to accelerate their rate of transactions in order to gain a quick return on their investment
o Two main risks in in second hand clothing trade are currency fluctuations and poor-quality clothing.–> when Mozambican metical weakens, importers increase prices. However, when the dollar falls against the metical, prices are not reduced by the armazens. –> market traders complain, but have never unable to end this practice.
o Stock quality is the major factor of profitability –> bales are sold ‘blind’ –> if lucky, can get lots of good material. –> armazens fo not offer refunds for bad quality clothing.
o Hygene issue are both a practical concern and a matter of dignity. –> Ghana banned importing underwear for that reason.
o Another problem –> size of clothing –> often too large for Mozambicans
Work in the second-hand clothing sector
• Vendors are risk takers –> have to work hard to in the market to retail second-hand clothes to poor customers, attempting to maximize prices whilst maintaining turnover
• Traders –> specialize on selling certain types of clothes –> they are risk-averse –> they know local preferences and stick with it. (p.174 second paragraph more detail and e.g.)
• The average income of second-hand traders in Xipamanine is around $5,40 a day
• Trading second-hand clothing represents a step up compared to other types of market work, such as selling vegeables or soap, but traders are still very poor and therefore experience difficulties
• Working in the market –> adaptive response which compensates for the absense of development and other opportunities in Mozambique, rather than a livelihood which should be celebrated.
The unusual case of Humana-ADPP
• Humana-ADPP is an international organization that imports used clothes to Mozambique as well as to neighboring countries such as Malawi and Zambia
• Humana retails 12 shops in Mozambique
• Provides poor people with the opportunity to purchase low-cost clothing
• Profits are said to go to fund education and HIV/AIDS
• The organization TRAID in the UK, worked with the charity commission to close down Humana UK due to concerns over how the organization was managed and funded
• Leader of Humana operated under a baffling variety of names and spheres of interest, under names such as ‘Gaia’, ‘Planet Aid’, ‘Tvind’ –> was associated with illegal activities in Africa, Europe, USA
Shopping for second-hand clothes in Mozambique
o Poverty frames purchasing decisions
o There are new and used clothes in Xipamanine market
o New items –> of low quality as they are made to narrow cost margins be sold at affordable prices to pooer people
o Material of used clothes –> greater that affordable new clothing, as they were produced for a more affluent class of consumers in Australia, Europe.
o Despite poverty in Mozambique there is a degree of differentiation in consumption –> along tree-lined avenues, near offices, shoes, rucksacks and handbags are sold.
o Tailoring activities occur –> second-hand clothes can be altered to give them greater value, yet a new commodity is not truly being produced.
o While culture is important, what is consumed is an adaptive response to the available goods –> the first priority of the poor is to meet basic needs.
Chapter 8: Old Clothes and new looks (Veronika)
The M65 US military field jacket
o M65 produced by Alpha industries was first developed for US servicemen in 1965 and became a design classic
o M65 were worn by angry veterans and fellow protesters.
o M65 became reappropriated symbols, part of an authentic visual message, along with beards, long hair and peace badges –> became an iconic part of uniform of Hollywood hard men
o M65 became popular in second-hand stores –> came with high price –> people were not buying the jacket itself, but were paying for the specialist and lucrative labor activities which have been sourcing, supplying and curating this commodity.
o Imports have diverse affects within different societies
Vintage fashion in cities
o Affordable second-hand clothing could be used to produce individual and unique looks
o Consumers attempt to attach themselves to the latest style or recreate a retro theme
o Vintage fashion allows people to form an authentic style
o There is a growing popularity of second-hand clothing in Italy. –> 3,500 stores can be found –> new way to form identity
o Such stores as Topshop also sell second-hand clothing –> it is not just any pair of jeans that end up as an expensive vintage good. –> before it a highly specific type of labor activity is required. –> skilled buyers search for good garments and recognize which jeans represent cultural zeitqeist and can be positioned at the marketplace.
o This type of work can create new value and wealth
o Marx long ago observed ‘The surpolus labout of the mass has ceased to be the condition for the development of general wealth…’
o Vintage clothing is not made at any single moment; it continually co-produced as the symbolic value is enhanced when it is marketed in different social contexts.
o Nostalgia and heritage can be influential in shaping systems of provision –> powerful cultural force.
o Symbolism is the livelihood of vintage fashion.
o Socially, clothes have two meanings: keep you warm and symbolic value. –> vintage is about second one.
o In Tokyo and Osaka are the most exclusive and sought after pairs of jeans on the world –> expensive and carefully detailed. –> styles from 1950s
o Large US Marine and Naval bases were established at Okinawa, Yokota. –> anti-american feelings were replaced by a yearning for American culture
o jeans became popular, but were expensive –> could cost half a month’s salary –> second – hand jeans stores thrived
o Denim aficionado Mikiharu Tsujita started his own brand – Fullcount. –> new techniques for treating, finishing and washing emerged. –> Japanese denim gradually established a reputation for innovation and quality.
o Labor in Japan is also expensive, even compared to EU countries.
o more than two thousand tons of vintage and contemporary American jeans are shipped annually to Japan.
o This case study shows that it was not Levi Strauss, Lee or Wrangler that brought jeans to Japan –> instead creolized patterns of production and consumption dependent on specific socio – historic circumstances are thriving
Used clothing markets in the global South
o There are few indigenous Papua New Guinean businesses and no history of industrial clothing manufacturing.
o Catholics and Lutherans are powerful economic and political actors
o Used clothes are brought by Christian organization – Salvation Army –> able to source clothing from congregations and collection activities in the global North. –> mostly, from Melbourne and Sydney
o Clothing has become an entrenched system of provision –> used clothes make up lion’s share of the apparel market
o Even though the retail is carefully managed in warehouses, nevertheless, crime is rife
o Many Papua New Guinea do not fully understand the connections between production, retail and the market due to their late and partial integration into the global capitalist society –> they believe that ‘cargo cults’ were coming from their ancestors
o In one Highlands village men took to wearing flowing ladie’s floral dressing gowns, garments that became the way to show off
o In Bolivia, imports of second-hand clothing are banned –> however, continue to flourish
o The politics of the second-hand clothing trade are associated with the framing of the nation and a reassertion of gender roles and traditional identities –> informal second-hand clothing markets provides an opportunity for female economic empowerment
o India has partially resisted the hegemonic model of economic liberalization promoted by the global North and has strategically integrated into the world economy, although the country has many of its own inequality. –> However, it facilitates Canam’s plant in Kandla that sorts and grades second hand clothing supplies from North America. Also, India a destination for recycling rags and clothing waste.
o Pakistan is more economically open –> one of the largest importers of second-hand from Europe
Chapter 9 (Mariam)
pg. 207 – Tom’s shoes
• Trend in footwear steadily spreading across USA.
• Toms shoes is an important new chapter in the so called annals of responsible capitalism.
• Toms model is symplicity itself : buy one , give one
• “ when you buy a pair of Tom’s shoes, you’re also helping improve the health, education and well being of a child.”
• Blake Mycoskie—socially responsible entrepreneur
• featured in time magazine’s “ how to fix capitalism” authored by Gates
• People were not just buying shoes, but they were buying into an idea.
• The brand went beyond being an ethical business and has become a minor cultural movement.
• Stories and videos from the global South look like materials from an up-market Peace Corps campaign rather than corporate advertising.
• Toms flags as if supporting a political party or a radical protest movement, rather than endorsing a shoe manufacturing company.
• Important critcisms of the ‘one for one’ model:
• A) First critique is about appropriateness of the donation
• Do shoes really satisfy a real need?
• Maybe another item of clothing or cash or access to clean water would be more useful
• Poor are not consulted in the process
• They are cast as helpless and passive recipients of aid
• A lack of footwear does not stand out as the most pressing development issye facing the poor in the Global South.
• B) Second critique is about the systems of provision
• Adult Shoes in the US cost $48 to $140
• They retail in Argentina for $5 including seller’s profit
• $48 purchase of shoes represents a $5 donation max
• high number of volunteers who pay their own air fares and distribute these shoes in the Gobal south and come back and provide testimonials. Therefore becoming brand ambassadors.
• If the air fare was donated—that would have been more effective aid.
• Thus, the whole system of provision is self financing and provides more good news stories for the Tom’s website.
• C) Third critique is about the potential economic relationship of the “buy one, give one” approach
• Free shoe drops can displace existing footwear matufacturing in the target countries
• Reduces local markets and makes it harder for industries which need protection to grow and compete
• Brooks states that : Rather than providing products , people should be empowered to escape poverty and not become structurally dependent on handouts.
• Fostering solidarity between different groups can be a powerful force for social change.
• Brooks refers to “one day without shoes” initiative as slacktivism.
• Global North people are able to access information about pressing social issues around the world, but we are not inclined to disrupt our own lifestyles to take direct action to alleviate poverty or environmental degradation.
• This type of consumerism is arguably much about offsetting guilt as addressing poverty.
• It is deeply problematic that the sale of a pair of espadrilles (shoes)should give someone the feeling that they are actually curing a problem or addresssing a socal issue when they are not. This is the fetishistic characteristic of so-called ethical consumption.
• D) Another critique is regarding the conditions of production
• Toms has addressed the critique of “trade not aid” and makes most of its shoes in China and aims at creating jobs in Kenya, Haiti, Ethiopia, etc.
• Brooks states that addressing the exploitative relationships which exist between labour and capital at source offeres a more promising opportunity to mitigate some of the causes and consequences of uneven development.
• Brooks states that none of these “ethical consumption” initiatives addresses the embedded inequalities of the linkages between clothing consumption and production and is not the solution to uneven development.
ETHICAL CONSUMPTION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE-213
• Americans and Europeans love to consume
• But uninterested in radical political change.
• Through mass media and cutural globalization, people are more conscious than ever about global inequalities and of issues like climate change.
• But despite all the awareness, widespread disenchantment with and indifference to conventional political porocesses are a hallmark of postmodern life.
• CAPITALISM in partnership with liberal governments, has been effective at forestalling political dissent and inventive in bringing new forms of cmmodity to the market.
• Rather than engaging with formal political parties, progressive liberals are attracted to the fairly controllable and instantaneous consumption of new ethical products.
• Responsible capitalism has become a new means through which to promote environmental and social justice.
• Some clothing companies make ethics central to their businesses.
• EG: Pantagonia
• This type of consumption is distinguished by ethics, morality and the politics of responsibility, which motivate actions in a complex way.
• There is a large gap between intention and behaviour; people readily identify themselves as ethically minded consumers yet rarely purchase ethical products.
• Radical approach to changing shopping habits: anti-consumption and boycott movements.
• EG: PETA
• What is interesting about a boycott is not the condemnation of market exchange per se but of a specific type of consumption.
• But temporary measure because explicit within the boycott principle is that consumption will resume once the conditions improve.
• Boycotts in line with the mainstream idea of commodity-choosing citizen consumers opting to take individual responsibility for social and environmental issues.
• Capitalist social relations are fundamentally ill-suited to resolving the problem of uneven development and environmental degradation fostered by the growth of free-market economies.
• Ethical consumption brings together morality and the market in what seems to be a contradiction in terms.
• IDEA OF COMMODITY FETISHISM
• Foundations of capitalism:goods and services –purchased with money
• money mediates relations between products and consumers
• therefore, creates a MORAL VACCUM
• inequalities in exchange concealed by apparently open and voluntary social relationships: you can buy jeans for $50 and worker can “choose” to work 8-10 hours a day sewing and earn $1.80.
• different parties in the system of provision are unaware of the networks of exploitation and the various ways in which surplus value is extracted in the clothing trade.
• Commodity fetishism transforms the abstract and subjective value of a good and turns then into objective things that makes people belive that they have intrinsic economic value.
• It makes it easy to assign variable wages to different types of work.
• Ethically produced goods are an attempt to de-fetishize the commodity.
• EG: Fairtrade.
• Brooks states that Fairtrade consumption does little to disrupt the pre-existing relationships between capital, labour and nature.
• Liberal minded citizens in the Global North can indulge in their consumption habits without calling for large scale structural changes that could threaten their own privileged status in global society.
• Value assigned to Fairtrade labour: covers only subsistence plus basic cost of health care and education.
• CAPITALIST SOCIAL relations are complicated; they include diverse cultural perceptions of value, but the salient point is that they are modified and not transformed by Fairtrade networks.
3. VALUING FAIRTRADE CLOTHES
• the material culture that surrounds the consumption of fairtrade clothes is an integral part of the system of provision.
• Marx argued that shopping is stimulated by narratives and aesthetics.
• Processes of image making in ethical consumption serve to reinforce and perpetuate economic relationships that undermine other more radical efforts to adress pressing social and environmental issues
• Premium pricing of most ethical garments excludes poorer consumers in the global north as well as the global south from choosing them. Brooks calls it the “petty-bourgeois indulgence”.
• Therefore, serves as a means for making distinctions and class positioning.
• For capitalism, ethical systems of provision are an elegant solution to the challenges and criticisms raised by the allaince of trade unions, NGO’s , faith groups, celebrities and others.
• Ethical trade offers a partial solution, whilst embedding the logic of inequality.
• Certain demands are addressed whilst at the same time the international inequality between classes is encouraged.
• Fairtrade good signifies “ethicalness”. It partially acknowledges the inequity of market exhchange and the reality of capitalist accumulation but this system of provision depends upon the persistence of the market and ordinary practices of commodity exchange.
• A voluntary premium is paid; yet, to maintain the price gap between conventional and fairtrade products,consumption has to be further stimulated through the creation of symbolic use values.
• This results in the production of consumable adverts and production vignettes which create a romantic and idealized vision of landscapes and livelihoods in the global south.
4. VIVIENNE WESTWOOD AND POLITICAL CONSUMPTION-219
• Vivienne Westwood- influential british fashion designer.
• She is a campaigner on gender, social and environmental issues.
• Her fashion line: Made with love in Nairobi
• Her rebellious statement: “Don’t buy clothes”
• This was an inauthentic message because she is the head of a very successful clothing label with a turnover in 2011 of 39.6 million.
• Brooks: Her commodities are commodified art that have symbolic value among an affluent audience which is excited about her rebellious ‘political’ messages as well as the new fashionable designs.
• Her company, “Made with love in Nairobi” is collaborating with Internation Trade Centre (ITC) since 2010.
• ITC’s ‘Ethical Fashion Africa’ initiative connects international fashion designers to African producers and organizes manufacturing activity, which enables some of the world’s poorest people to enter fashion’s value chain as producers, while also allowing designers, who want to source ethically, to do so.
• Westwood says that this intiatives gives people control over their lives.
• Brooks: Yet, the control over the system of provision is constrained when they are unable to design and market the goods.
• Africans do not have access to distant international customers who have the power to pick and choose , and thus decide whether or not they want to support a ethical cause.
• 3 problems with ITC’s initiative is listed (but it is not very important)
• World Trade Organization sponsors ITC’s “Ethical Fashion Africa” initiative.
• Brooks: It is important to note that WTO’s broad mission is to open up global trade, which is in line with the economic liberalization imposed on africa through structural adjustment programmes that contributed to eroding industries and decreasing wage levels.
• The reestablishment of an idustrial working class will be necessary before poverty reduction can be achieved on a large scale.
5. Marketing Made with Love in Nairobi-222
• Westwood uses her celebrity identity to draw greater attention to the production location and shapes consumers’ knowledge.
• Creation of commodity fetish begins with the name of the product. “Made with Love in Nairobi”
• The primary imagery used in Made with Love in Nairobi projects a powerful message of lifting impoverished African female workers out of poverty
• Most of the photos taken as promotional material features the locals in the background while Vivienne takes centre stage.
• The promotional material also presents a one-way consumption of lide. The consumer can ‘know’ what life in Nairobi looks like, but this is uni-directional as the producer does not ‘know’ the consumer.
• Brooks: Some of the revenue from sales may help alleviate poverty in Kenya on a small scale, but meanwhile the promotional campaign creates new commodity fetishes that undermine the broader efforts to challenge the politics of global inequality.
• Rather than eliminating the commodity fetish, the celebrity artist conjures up a new performance.
• ‘Made with Love in Nairobi’ offers limited acknowledgement of inequities at the heart of capitalism, but still depends upon the market and ordinary practices of commodity exchange.
• The proclaimed aim to move away from a charitable discourse is contradicted by images of Kenyans which fall into a category of deserving poor rather than equal partners.
• ‘Made with Love in Nairobi’ is itself a contradiction which undermines efforts to give greater recognition to worker in the Global South.
6.ETHICAL RECYCLING AND NEW CYLES OF CONSUMPTION-224
• Consumer ethics play a role in how people in the Global North dispose off clothes.
• The link between shopping and disposal is something that retailers are beginning to exploit as they mix fast fashion and sustainabiltity.
• Example: H&M –(Donate clothes and get a voucher or 15% discount)
• These clothes are sold on to I:CO, a Swiss headquatered textile recycler, which processes used clothing for second hand markets in the Global south, vintage retail in the Global North, and recycling – just like the systems of provision.
• Getting rid of old clothes makes more room for new consumption.
• Clothing retailers want to provide a virtuous outlet for unwanted clothing in the Global North, without interrupting the sale of fast fashion.
• Ethical recycling provides an appealing and intuitive solution to the issues of overconsumption, yet this does not address the myriad development and environmental problems that are formed through the interconnected new and second-hand clothing systems of provision.
• Local rather than transnational commodity chains may offer Greener solutions
• Environmental impact of new clothing production need to be ore extensively explored
• Solutions are likely to require radical actions.
• Overall concept of sustainability rests upon three pillars: society, economy and environment.
• Within fashion:greatest attention has been drawn to the environmental pillar.
• The politics of the evironment are malleable and business can shape the eco agenda to dictate new ways of bringing profitable clothing goods to the market.
• Fashions are the accellerating metronome for consumption, producing, advancing beats, pulsing ever faster to draw more commoditiies throught the cicuits of global systems of provision.
• Fashion is a practice that directly underpins the rapid despoiling of the earth’s environmental systems.
• Brooks says that Kate Fletcher recognizes the need for a holistic approach that looks across systems of provisions.
• Nothing important but can look at pg 30 for Fletcher’s quote.
8. PERSPECTIVES ON ETHICAL CONSUMPTION – 230
• If capitalist progress is inherently good, then most enterprise will have ethical benefits. However, reality indicates otherwise.
• The global market economy has led to uneven development and environmental degradation.
• Ethical consumption is both compatible with and supportive of liberal free-market approaches to the governance of the global economy and environment.
• Fairtrade and related types of activity sustains the smooth functioning of global capitalism rather than being a brake on an exploitative mode of production.
• Ethical production systems alter rather than eliminate the exploitation of labour and nature, especially in the Global South.
• The maintenance of individual consumer sovereignity fits perfectly with extreme notions of liberalism whereby social relations are becoming ‘purely atomic’ and civic resposibility is rejected in favour of the ‘apotheosis of the individual’. This type of positional ethical consumption as class differentiation feeds ito the reproduction of inequalities.
• From an environmental perspective the individually responsible decision is to choose to shop less often, wear clothes until they are worn out, and then repair or recycle them within the household or replace them with locally produced goods.
• Slowing the rate of clothing consumption by buying fewer higher-quality clothes is a far more environmentally friendly approach than consuming to buy fast fashion and donating excess clothes.
• However, these solutions are an ‘opt in’ approach to a massive problem and are unlikely to be taken upp by more than a small section of society in the Global North who have the direct opportunity ro make the decision.
• More radical social change is required, to which the capitalist mode of production does not provide the answer.
Chapter 10: Fast-fashion systems (Mariam)
• pg 233
• London fashion week
• held in Somerset House
• Pg 234
• Design students take photos of new looks, promotional models hand out flyers
• “catwalk shows are pure theatre”
• new looks will soon make it to clothing stores across the GN (Global North)
• new trends worn are reported in the printed press and relayed online around the world – rated and debated – inspiration for new mass clothing production
• clothing culture is influenced by wider processes and reflects social change
• ^ shows globalization
• pg 235
• fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening – Chanel
• material culture in fashion shows help generate retail demand and determine what is on sale in malls
• consumers have less autonomy, demand is stimulated, clothing needs to meet a consumer niche but manipulated by fashion sector
• new demands are propelled by the media
• cultural values influence how fashions are perceived
• for GN = symbolic value of clothing is just part of their decision making process when they go shopping
• trends are never static, but kept in motion
• pg 236
• growth in demand for consumer products is essential for capitalism
• used clothing is regularly disposed of in the GN = new clothing principally for the sake of appearance
• no easy answers to reconciling the relationships b/w the production of clothing and the persistence of poverty
• radical alternatives modify capitalist social relations
• little progress towards substantive political transformation on the horizon
• making markets for second-hand clothes
• for the poor = availability of clothes is a welfare issue
• pg 237
• GS of today should not be confused with pre-industrial world, marginalized by capitalist class relations, ppl struggle to find employment = act as surplus reserve of labour, can be exploited when investment seeks out new territory
• Uneven development of capitalism = great wealth to some through patterns of exploitation
• Complicated geography to wealth and poverty
• GDF growth in Africa and BRICS has occurred alongside rising inequality
• Poor countries = e.g. in south Africa, local elites shop for designer clothes in malls, poor buy low cost clothing in value retail stores in declining urban centres. Sometimes for illegally imported second hand clothing sold by Nigerians.
• Pg 238
• Garments cheaper for rich consumers cuz = declining terms of trade, more protection and liberalization
• Exploitation of labour
• Capitalism is inherently expansionist, drives excessive consumption, surplus of unwanted clothes, export BACK to GS, sometimes SAME LOCATIONS that manufacture new clothes for export.
• The circulation of both new and used clothes locks poor societies into relationships od dependency
• Neoliberal policies and SAPs (structural adjustment policies) = undermine local clothing production, promote imports.
• Northern styles of dress are forged through mass media and returning migrants
• New imported garments come primarily from china in Africa (low quality) = different than the ones made FOR America and Europe (better)
• Pg 239
• ^ that’s why Africans prefer buying second-hand garments
• used clothing traders accumulate surplus value from past labour and new labour activities
• time lag of several yrs b/w emergence of new trends and arrival of those used clothes in African markets = why Africa cannot keep up with trends
• pg 240
• Africans have diverse taste but do not buy fast fashion like americans
• Local or int’l styles influence purchases, but are a secondary consideration = for African countries
• In Africa, fashion conscious purchases are the exception rather than the norm.
• Middle class = afford int’l prices, choose to consume clothes primarily for fashion value.
• Concept of buying the best second hand clothes
• Problems identified with the second hand clothing trade = regulation of the collection and donation sectors in GN to address malpractice, raising awareness to ppl that their second hand clothes r beneficial, protectionist/industrialization policies could promote local clothing industries.
• Pg 241
• Controls on imports = reversal of economic liberalization programmes
• Protection to clothing industries in Africa, type of biz fostered = those that pay living wages and not salaries, which barely sustain life.
• Environmentally responsible agriculture and manufacturing should be encouraged
• Capitalist development spawned the exploitative fast fashion system, and int’l ineq.
• Late capitalism: individualism is promoted relentelessly
• Choosing to consume ethically: not leading to widespread progressive change
• Consumer in GN AND GS cannot be trusted to consistently make good decisions – justified by 4 interconnected levels
• Pg 242
1. Unrealistic to expect consumers in GN to undertake ethical audit whenever they go to buy new clothes. Relationship b/w labour, owner of means of production, and consumer. Complexity of supply chains. Finding an ethical way to get rid of used clothing is just as problematic as trying to shop responsibly. Ppl’s good intentions offer a limited solution to solving fast fashion consumption
2. Shoppers cannot be trusted to shop less or consumer differently. Rate of consumption needs to be slowed down to mitigate the env’t impacts of fast fashion. Sustainable fashion mvmts. Transforming behaviours and slowing consumption go against capitalist social relations.
• Pg 243
3. difficult to do right thing – for both individual and biz/states. US buys clothing from overseas suppliers that breaks local laws, contravening own responsible sourcing.
4. Individual buying power is weak. Vast majority of world’s consumers r poor ppl in GS. Do u make a cost benefit analysis when buying clothes?
• Post consumption approach to social relations
• Pg 244
• Alternative ways to think about the relationships b/w consumers and producers (two)
1. De-fetishizing the market. Research on labour exploitation and ethical initiatives. Post-consumption school would promote radical advocacy and bring awareness of social justice to a popular audience.
• pg 245
2. Political change. Remote cuz of financial instability, common responsibility, shared intimacy, diverse people, possibilities to shop less/shop differently/shop reflectively. Regulation and legal protection required for production of clothing in socially responsible ways.
• Pg 246
• Can production be fixed?
• Need a more equitable distribution of the fruits of clothing prod.
• Workers living under the poverty line make clothing, those who own r multi billionaires. Their personal wealth far exceeds the annual GDP of entire countries.
• Capitalism = uneven distribution of growth (this whole chapter repeats that)
• Bargaining for increased wages through labour unionization.
• Independent TU (trade unions) r repressed ruthlessly
• Unionization can help improve conditions
• Minority of permanent employees able to join unions
• Weakened bonds b/w workers = could not unite effectively to oppose oppressive mgmt. regimes
• Pg 247
• y bargaining is ineffecive = Deskilling of labour in textile n clothing ind/use of advanced technologies = degradation of work n alienation of predominantly female workers, surplus supply of labour, political conditions.
• Fast fashion factories relocate to new lower wage locations when cost of labour increases – in response to union demands, competition for employees, other social pressures.
• Unity of labour is ultimately required, bargain for a reduction in exploitation on a global scale
• Realistic appraisal
• Pg 248
• Different approach = regulating the market and raising min wages in GS to close the gap with those in GN
• Difference in wages in the GN vs GS
• Improving wages = better human development
• Cost difference passed on to the consumer
• Increasing trade liberalization is promoted by powerful organizations like WTO
• Pg 249
• Crisis prone nature of capitalism = deep recession
• Radical transformation in terms of wages paid to labour is unlikely to occur under capitalism
• A state’s jobs = improve industrial standards, workforce highly educated, access to good health care
• Some factories, digital read outs linked how many garments individual workers have completed
• Pg 250
• ^ think this is +ve devpt, a potential mgmt tool
• but if rate of profit falls: monitor individual rates of work, set high targets, think employees work harder = not true
• labour exploitation = those who stitch garments remain poor, surplus values extracted by owners of factories
• exploiation will persist. Workers need to own their own means of production.
• CONCLUSION OF WHOLE BOOK
• Book talks about jeans in Mozambican market, world’s hidden clothing systems of provision
• Pg 251
• North buys fast fashion, lacking opportunities for world’s poor.
• Rich consumers enjoy a great range of clothes – world’s poor dependent on second hang clothing imports
• Systems-of-provision approach: patterns of clothing consumption both respond to and influence the process of uneven economic development
• Consumer demand essential in sustaining economic growth
• Clothing systems of provision are shaped by producers, who stimulate consumer demand
• Overconsumption: -ve envt and social impacts
• ^effects = circulation of used clothing
• second hand clothing only exists cuz capitalism is wrong
• the market pushes toward the devpt of technologically impressive production systems, but still failing to meet basic needs of a vast proportion of society
• spatial ineq due to globalization
• capitalism leads to destructive warfare, devaluation/resolution of absolute crisis. Violence.
• Capitalism may mould some envts, while choking others.
• Pg 252
• Lived experience of poverty = reality.
• Exploitation faced by employees, struggles to provide for families, ecological crisis, human-induced envt change
• Rich = no real political appetite for transformation that could disrupt everyday life
• Change will not happen under capitalism. Impoverishment and ineq will not die, but expressed in new ways.
• Accumulation of profit from surplus labour of others = social diff = wider gap b/w rich n poor.
• Spatial fix for capital drags different territories into crisis
• Solutions proposed by Economic globalization problems r also distant
• HOPE = build momentum through action, activism, and critical research
Chapter 9: (Azayah)
• Toms success story= ”so called responsible capitalism”pg.207
• But this example of social entrepreneurship=contradiction of ethical consumption
• Model: buy one, give one (to a child in a developing country…”improving health, education, well-being of a child”
• Encourages consumers to buy into an idea (ie that they are preforming an ethical act)
• Toms acts like an advocacy NGO ie one day without shoes event?bring awareness to children in the global south without shoes while endorsing their shoe manufacturing company
• Backlash of the one for one model(as a solution)
• 1) appropriateness of the donation (fails to address a real need—more pressing issues)
• Poor are not consulted in process and viewed as helpless, passive recipients of aid
• 2) System of provision?Toms shoes sell for between $48-140 in the USA while the cost of manufacturing in Argentina is $5 (could alternatively extract surplus from these sales while maintaining the donation system)
• cost of distributing shoes in global south is borne out by the Toms community (ie volunteers pay for flights to become brand ambassadors)
• cost of flights would be more effective aid if the ticket prices were donated and directed toward employing local people to distribute the donations (current system of provision is self-financing and provides good new stories for Toms)
• as with cheap imports of second hand clothing, free shoe drops can displace existing footwear manufacturing in the target countries, reducing local markets and making it harder for industries which need protection to grow and compete
• one for one endeavor also problematic because rather than band aid solutions it is better to ask deeper questions about the the global economy
• rather than providing products, people should be empowered to escape poverty and not become structurally dependent on handouts
• one day without shoes imitative=slacktivism?able to access info about social inequity but unwilling to take direct action to alleviate poverty or environmental degradation
• Fetishistic characteristic of ethical consumption=people want to link themselves to the ideas of poverty alleviation and charity?giving the idea to people that they are actually curing a problem or addressing a social issue when they are not
• 212 Additional Critique?conditions of production?better to think of conditons of workers and ensure an ethical supply chain ie trade not aid
• ^working toward improvements, currently most shoes made in China, but have plans to produce one third-in countries where they make donations by end of 2015
• addressing exploitative relationships that exits between labour and capital at source offers a more promising opportunity to mitigate some of the causes and consequences of uneven development
• basic question:?should first world consumers be determining what footwear others in the global South access? Conventional fashion system of provision to a parallel supply system directed towards the deserving poor?does not address the embedded inequalities of the linkages between clothing consumption and production and is not the solution to uneven development
Ethical Consumption in Theory and Practice Pg. 213
• consumer culture in North America and Europe + uninterested in radical political change
• Despite increasing awareness of developmental and environmental problems, widespread disenchantment with and indifference to conventional political processes are a hallmark of post-modern life
• Capitalism in partnership with liberal governments, has been effective at forestalling political dissent and inventive at bringing new forms of commodity to the market
• Citizens define primarily as commodity chasing consumers
• Responsible capitalism (new politicized way consumer can exercise choice) responsible capitalism has become a new means thru which to promote environmental and social justice
• Shopping for “good” goods mediates our engagement with an expanding range of economic, environmental, and social topics (ethical clothes=demonstrating solidarity with good causes)
• Some clothing makes ethics central to their business ie Patagonia, an American outdoor appeal company?promotes fair labour practices, uses recycled and organic products
• Self serving connection evident in the Patagonia system of provision
• Buying ethically can help protect the environment and consumer can enjoy envrt when wearing clothes and hiking etc
• This type of consumption is distinguished by ethics, morality and the politics of responsibly which motivate actions in a complex way
• Large gap between intention and behaviour: people readily identify themselves as ethically minded consumers yet rarely purchase ethical products
• More radical approach to changing shopping habits=anti-consumption and boycott movements
• Anti-consumption=PEETA (id rather go naked than wear fur) photo shoots
• Boycotts=temporary suspension of consumption, not a condemnation of market exchange per se but of a specific type of consumption (in line with the mainstream idea of commodity-choosing citizen consumers opting to take individual responsibility for social end environmental issues
• Capitalist social relations are fundamentally ill-suited to resolving the problems of uneven development and environmental degradation fostered by the growth of free market economies
• Ethical consumption brings together the market and morality in what seems to be a contradiction in terms
• Inequalities in exchange are concealed by apparently open and voluntary social relationships
• Different parties in the system of provision are unaware of the networks of exploitation and the various way sin which surplus value is extracted in the clothing trade
• Commodity fetishism transforms the abstract and subjective value of Gap jeans, vintage dresses, Toms or any clothing item turning them into objective things which people believe have intrinsic economic value?true of any commodity including human labour
• Throughout the clothing systems of provision different subjective values are assigned to various types of labour, which are exploited to a greater or lesser extent
• Ethically produced goods are an attempt to de-fetishize the commodity ?fair trade
• Buying Fairtrade may be intended by the consumers to be an individual progressive political act, but does little to disrupt the pre-existing relationships between capital, labour and nature
• Liberal minded citizens in the global North can indulge in their consumption habits without calling for the large-scale structural changes that could threaten their own privileged status in global society
• Fair trade aims to modify market relations by providing a just price for third world labour but does not even produce the appearance of equality
• Value assigned to Fairtrade labour is a small premium above the market rate, but covers only subsistence
• Capitalist social relations are modified not transformed by Fairtrade networks
Valuing Fairtrade clothes
• Shopping for clothes in the global north=buying into a lifestyle
• Material culture that surrounds the consumption of Fairtrade garments is an integral part of the system
• Links between spaces of production and places of consumption in Fairtrade networks are exposed through adverts, documentaries and packaging which lead to the reworking and creation of new spectacles for consumption
• So much of what determines the subjective symbolic value in clothing is the spectacular activities that lie beyond the narrow realm of physical production (place influential in establishing value) ie adverts of production which include visiting happy workers in tropical landscapes=reinforces and perpetuates economic relationships that undermine other more radical efforts to address pressing social and envrt’al issues
• Fairtrade=limited progress and change=partial solution which crowd out more radical political possibilities/alternatives
• FT=small scale/molecular social transformation as a tepid revolution in shopping without a revolution in society?certain demands are addressed while internal inequality between classes is encouraged
• Contradiction within fair trade=whilst partially acknowledging the inequality within Fairtrade and the reality of capitalist accumulation, this system of provision depends upon the persistence of the market and ordinary practices of commodity exchange
• A voluntary premium is paid, yet to maintain the price gap between conventional and Fairtrade products, consumption has to be further stimulated through the creation of symbolic use values
• This results in the production of consumable adverts and producer vignettes which create a romantic and idealized vision of landscapes and livelihoods in the global South
Vivienne Westwood and political consumption
• Example of the performance of ethicalness=Vivienne Westwood(British fashion designer)’s Made with Love in Nairobi
• Her brand helps inspire the fast-fashion system of provision, as her designer labels drives forward new clothing trends, which migrate rapidly from the the catwalk to shopping malls
• Her commodities=art and have symbolic value among an affluent audience which is excited by her rebellious political messages as well as the new fashionable designs
• Westwood’s made with Love in Nairobi has been produced in collaboration with the International Trade Center (ITC) since 2010
• ITC ethical protocol model aims to reduce poverty by generating “trade opportunities for marginalized communities and micro-producers in the developing world” and enables “international fashion companies and distributors to source from African communities by following a “rigorous code of ethics and gender equality” designed to empower women and raise their incomes.”?like Fairtrade model is not charity just work
• Ethical Fashion Africa initiative connects international fashion designers to African producers and organizes manufacturing activity, which enables some of the world’s poorest people to enter fashion’s value chain as producers while also allowing designers who want to source ethically to do so
• Kenya, working conditions meet Fair Labour Association criteria, as a consequence of which craftswomen’s income increased from 3 to 6 dollars a day (similar to Fairtrade in the ITC program, wages include a small premium above the market rate but do enable much more than the physical reproduction of labour power
• Control over the system of provision is constrained when Africa women are unable to design and market the goods
• Africans do not have access to distant international customers who chose whether or not to support an ethical cause
• Through the ITC a new model of development is being promoted as a way to fuel African economic growth, but this is unlikely to lead to widespread poverty alleviation
• Three main problems with the economic geography of this type of intervention
• 1) Rather than establishing “modern” industrial patterns (as previously existed in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa?ITC advocates a fragmented approach to organizing production and “essentially spreads out the different parts of a factory over entire regions”
• This promotes uneven development and amplifies spatial inequality by assisting only certain groups to enter the global capitalist economy on marginally better terms
• 2) Dispersed community-level production is also disadvantageous for labour as it reduces wage earner’s bargaining power relative to international buying firms
• 3)ITC wants to develop large scale production, but does not promote state intervention, preferential access to overseas markets, industrial development, or production for local consumers and only responds to “market demand”
• The WTO sponsors ITC’s ethical Fashion Africa initiative
• WTO’s broad mission is to open up global trade, which is in line with economic liberalization imposed upon Africa through the structural adjustment programs that contributed to eroding industries and decreasing wage levels
• “Made in love with Nairobi” =niche production and small scale employment that cannot contribute to widespread poverty alleviation; rather than well-intentioned market “solutions”, more radical shifts in the mode of production are required
• the reestablishment of an industrial working class will be necessary before poverty reduction can be achieved on a large scale
Marketing “Made with Love in Nairobi”
• “Made with Love in Nairobi”?marketing obscures the unequal relationship between consumer and producer?name says more about the consumers’ construction of their own identity than about the producers’ situation
• imagery of the adverts follows classical European representations of the continent, where Africans are reduced to the role of bystanders
• The marketing activity contrasts sharply with the livelihoods of African market traders, which are beset by risk, uncertainty, and hardships
• Some of the revenue from sales may help alleviate poverty in Kenya on a small scale, but meanwhile the promotional campaign creates new commodity fetishes that undermine the broader efforts to challenge the politics of global inequity
• Westwood’s stylized and romantic vison of Kenya is obscuring the inequity between global North and South in a manner comparable to that of other celebrities’ interventions in Africa
• Like Fairtrade and other ITC products, “made with love in Nairobi” offers limited acknowledgement of the inequities at the heart of capitalism, but still depends upon the market and ordinary practices of commodity exchange
• A voluntary premium is paid to the Kenyan labour force, but to sustain the consumption of this product the commodity-choosing consumers have to be stimulated to buy the good through the creation of material and symbolic use values which grab their attention and command high prices
• The aim to move away form a charitable discourse is contradicted by the images of Kenyans’ which fall into the category of deserving poor rather than equal partners
• Westwood wants the consumer to help poor Africans instead of proving something different to charity, Made with Love in Nairobi is itself a contradiction which undermines efforts to give greater recognition to workers in the global South
Ethical recycling and new cycles of consumption
• People increasingly being directed towards ways of disposing of the masses of old, unwanted clothes that result form the global North’s overconsumption?includes the growth in doorstep and clothing bank and commercial solutions
• Retailers beginning to exploit link between shopping and disposal (by mixing fast fashion and sustainability)
• Ie H&M Garment Collection Scheme?Change mindset of consumers to see old clothes as a resource? (voucher in return for old clothes)
• Clothes are sold on to I:CO a Swiss headquartered textile recycler, which processes used clothing for second hand markets in the global south, and recycling
• Claim?non profit making venture, donations made, for each kilo of clothes that H&M collects 0.02 Euros donated to local charities
• Getting rid of clothes makes room for new consumption, ?provide a virtuous outlet for unwanted clothing in the global North, without interrupting the sale of fast fashion
• Marketing materials downplay the broader social and economic impacts of the second hand clothing system of provision in the global South
• Ethical consumption does not address the development and environmental problems that are formed thru the interconnected new and second-hand clothing systems of provision
• Second hand clothing donations have diverse effects upon the economies and cultures of the global south?local rather than transitional commodity chains may offer Greener solutions
• Sustainable, Green/Eco Fashion?part of wider trend towards sustainable forms of consumption
• ^rethinking the relationship between design, consumption, use and reuse, and end of life
• major fashion companies made limited efforts to think progressively about material selection, resource flows and supply chain efficiencies
• but contradiction in sustainable fashion?normal of fast fashion is driven by the logic of the market, latest fashion implies that clothes become outdated and accelerates more consumption
• fashion is the practice that directly underpins the rapid despoiling of the Earth’s environmental systems
• under capitalism, the necessity to continually increase profits brings more products to the market
• industrial capitalism is exceeding planetary boundaries creating irreversible destruction
• how can fashion become sustainable? ?viable alternatives must be located, studied and popularized to unlock creativity and challenge contemporary relationships between people and the garment sector
Perspectives on Ethical Consumption
• Ethical production systems alter rather than eliminate the exploitation of labour and nature, especially in the global South
• Ethical consumption=the satisfaction of individuals needs=”a necessary means to keep the machinery of capitalist reproduction going”
• Buying ethical clothes like Toms shoes is an individualized form of political consumption which represents a limited force for social change that focuses attention only on convenient ethical topics
• From an envrt perspective the individually responsible decision is to choose to shop less often, wear clothes until they are worn out, and then repair or recycle them within the household or replace them with locally produced goods
• Slowing the rate of clothing consumption by buying fewer higher-quality clothes is a friendlier environmental approach than continuing to buy fast fashion and donate excess clothes
• However, these solutions are an opt in approach to a massive problem and are unlikely to be taken up by more than a small section society in the global north
• A more radical social change is required to which the capitalist mode of production does not provide the answer
Chapter 10: Fast Fashion Systems (Azayah)
London Fashion Week
• The types of couture collections that are exhibited at Somerset House, as well as the material culture that surrounds London Fashion Week, feed into new clothing systems of provision, helping to generate retail demand and determine what is on sale in malls and department stores
• Consumers have less autonomy in affected demand than imagined?demand stimulated by fashion sector
• Changing meanings are attributed to clothing and behaviour norms and cultural values influence how fashion is perceived?people are compelled to buy to adhere to trends
• Fast fashion retail is linked to the sale of second hand clothing (people by clothes they don’t need because they like the way they look and get rid of clothes they can still wear but which they no longer like)
• Inequality is produced thru different patterns of commodity exchange
• Radical alternatives are needed to deliver fundamental social change
Making Markets for second hand clothes
• Global division in consumption
• Uneven development of capitalism has delivered wealth to some thru patterns of exploitation (in cotton growing, textile manufacturing and garment production) and left much of the world impoverished)
• The world is split between affluent North and poor South
• Lives in global south marginalized because of capitalist class relations
• Poorer hemisphere?hundreds of millions of people struggle to find employment and act as a surplus reserve of labour who can be exploited when investment seeks out new territory to provide a spatial fix
• Complicated geography to wealth and poverty?patterns are changing?recent growth in Africa and BRICS occurred alongside rising inequality
• Within countries, there exist sharp divisions between rich and poor
• From colonial period onwards, declining terms of trade and strategic approaches to market protection and liberalization have made garments cheaper for rich countries
• Neoliberal policies and SAPS have undermined local clothing production and promoted imports helping to create captive markets
• In the global south many poor consumers are not served by systems of provision that bring well made or desirable clothing to the market (ie china flooding African market with low quality goods)
• In the medium term solutions to problems of second hand clothing trade:
• Regulation of the collection and donation sectors in the global North to address malpractice, such as the theft of donations
• Raising awareness among consumers of fast fashion clothing of the future trajectories of their donated second hand clothes
• In global South?import regulations could control the market for second hand clothes and if parallel protectionist measure and industrialization policies were implemented, could promote local clothing industries
• Individual adjustments to behaviour, choosing to consume ethically, are not leading to widespread progressive change…because.
• 1) unrealistic to expect consumers in the global north to be able to undertake an accurate ethical audit whenever they go and buy new clothes
• 2)Shoppers cannot be trusted to shop less or consume differently (transforming behaviours and slowing the market go against capitalist social relations, which depend upon the continual expansion of the market)
• 3)Difficult for business and state to do the right thing in the market
• 4) Although their individual buying power is weak, the vast majority of the world’s consumers are poor people in the global south (cannot afford to take into account ethics)
• consumption=poor route to fixing challenges at hand therefore post consumption is necessary=an alternative way to think about the relationship between consumers and producers includes political change and defetishizing the market
• Political chang: getting behind the veil of market exchange, thru rigorous exposes about labour exploitation?to promote radical advocacy and bring awareness of social justice to a popular audience
• Evidence would inform spirited debate that result in political action?social justice organizations support the fight for improved workers rights
• Possibilities to shop less, differently and reflectively more likely to come about by formal political action, on local national, and international levels
• Stricter regulation and legal protection are required to enforce the production of clothing in socially and environmentally responsible ways
Can production be fixed?
• In addition to poverty, there are further factors that weaken the power of workers int the global south
• Ie deskilling of workers in textile and garment industries and the use of advanced technologies (power in hands of management)
• Mobile nature of fast fashion factories means that production can pick up and move to lower wage locations
• The unity of labour across different scales (Factories, regions, nations, and worldwide) is ultimately required
• Union power can help highlight local injustice and leverage political change will stalling the push to suppress wages
• Utopian approach?regulation the market and raising minimum wages in the global south to close the gap with those in the global North (unlikely to ever occur in capitalism)
• For as long as capitalism continues, the only way to begin to address the unequal relationships of exchange is for clothing workers to own their own means of production
• On a global scale, there is a connection between the rapid rate at which people in the North buy fast fashion and the lack of opportunities for clothing consumption on the part of many of the world’s poor
• Fast fashion drives down the price of clothing goods
• Rich consumers enjoy a great range of clothes, but are complicit in the process that locks the world’s poor in Africa, Asia, And LA into a partial dependency on second hand clothes
• Under capitalism impoverishment and inequality will not die, they will learn new ways of expressing themselves
Hope lies only in the building of momentum thru action, activism and critical research
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