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I generally think people who tell other people how to live are assholes.
As it stands, America’s central organizing principle is thoughtless consumption, acquiring things for yourself and letting everyone else pick over what you left behind on the shelves. You can decide you don’t like that. You can decide that people—your family, your friends, the people in your community, the port truckers and Amazon warehouse workers running themselves ragged—are more important to you than another box of miscellaneous stuff.
I mean... if we stop importing all sorts of cheap disposable garbage, then people might start to really pay attention to how the costs of vital necessities (housing, healthcare, education, nutrition) are wholly unaffordable for wide swaths of the country. We need SHEIN & Co to keep everyone distracted, thank you very much.Bloomberg has been doing a lot of excellent reporting over the past year on pretty much every stage of the global supply chain and very literally one of the biggest takeaways from almost every bottleneck is "for the love of god please stop buying shit." Heightened consumer spending with no sign of abating just continues to create compounding logistical problems all over the place. Fascinating, but also deeply disturbing in terms of how fragile the supply chain is at the end of the day.
This is a 100% reasonable appeal at the end of the article, imo:
Having worked in production where there were some automated processes, I can see that assisted production technologies shift labour and knowledge needs around for apparel. Not a bad thing as it can both create a lower barrier to entry for skills as most machines need an operator that may be a simpler knowledge base than sewing... as well as creating a new need for more technical roles to retool, maintain, program, and optimize these new technologies on the factory floor. More productive for the labour inputs (person hours) but doesn't do away with human input or jobs completely.I recently talked to a clothing factory owner who talked about the machinery already in place to help replace workers for things such as cutting and simple sewing.
It is not particularly easy to automate the manufacturing of soft goods such as clothing.Personally don't think protectionism and import substitution are the answers to helping working-class people, particularly with issues such as housing, education, healthcare, etc. Import substitution will just raise the cost of products we could import from abroad. Would be better if the US was just more comfortable with expanding the welfare state and engaging in direct redistributive policies. In California, skyrocketing housing costs are related to how difficult it is to build housing (for a variety of reasons), which is independent of the deindustrialization process that has happened here in the last 50 or so years.
As it has been discussed elsewhere, even if you engage in import substitution, which will just raise prices across the board, there's a high chance that capital will replace labor with technology. I recently talked to a clothing factory owner who talked about the machinery already in place to help replace workers for things such as cutting and simple sewing. There are currently AI technologies in the works to even deskill pattern drafting (not just cutting, drafting!). In the future, even if you build more manufacturing here, much of that work will be automated.