What N.C. and Zambia share (and don’t)

“About 30,000 jobs in Zambia’s textile industry have been lost in recent years, approximately the same number that have been lost during the same period in North Carolina….

“The fascinating twist… is that while North Carolina has lost its textile industry to low-wage workers from China, the African textile industry has lost to the high-wage workers of America, who live in a land of such plenty that clothing is given away for free [to charity thrift shops, which sell their leftovers by the bale to African entrepreneurs].

“How, indeed, can anyone, even China,  compete with free?”

— From “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade” by Pietra Rivoli (2005)

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