Rivoli Questions Ch. 5

1. Briefly explain what "The Great Divergence" was.  Use the terms China, Europe, development, late 1700s and cotton garments in your answer.

The Great Divergence refers to the processes which led Europe, especially England, to surge past the rest of the world, including China, in terms of development during the late 1700s.  The industrialized manufacture of cotton garments generated this divergence.

2. With regard to textile manufacture, how did the Chinese self-sufficiency system differ from the English "putting-out" system?

Chinese textile production was organized by household with each household completing all of the processes that transformed cotton into apparel.  The English "putting-out" system involved specialized manufacture. Individual households specialized in particular manufacturing processes and "put-out" their products for other households to continue the sequence.  

3. How did the spinning jenny contribute to the "race to the bottom"?

The spinning jenny was a multi-spindle contraption that dramatically increased the amount of yarn that an individual could produce.  This was just one of a series of innovations that led to increased production and decreased prices for cotton apparel.  Rivoli claims that this led to the factory system that employed cheap labor and horrid working conditions to continue to increase production and reduce prices.

4. How did the revolution in the textile industry change the distribution of English settlement? The revolution, which was the development of the textile factory system of production, contributed to the urbanization of English society.  Thousands of people left rural farming settlements to work in urban factory settings.

5. Why did factory owners have an abundant labor supply? The abundant labor supply came from newly urbanized families and single individuals.  The factories allowed women and children to become wage earners, impoverished ones at that, for the first time. 

6. How was the British textile industry of the 1800s similar to China's current textile industry? The British textile industry of the 1800s depended on "docile" female laborers working long hours in terrible working conditions.  So, too, does China's textile industry currently.

7. When did Britain lose its dominance? 1890-1920.

8. What country replaced it? US. What region of that country? New England.

9. Why does Rivoli include the bottom-most paragraph on p. 77? Intellectual property violations led to the US's emergence as a textile producing powerhouse.  The US currently complains about China's intellectual property violations.

10. How did the early US textile factory owners meet their labor needs? "Docile" "single women from the farms of New England and Canada"

11. When did the "race to the bottom" move to the US South? 1930s Why? Lower wages.

12. Where does the race move to after 1930s? Japan. What ingredient was required for this, and all of the other, moves? An abundant supply of laborers, almost exclusively women, who worked for lower wages.

13. And then to where in the 1960s and 1970s? Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan.