Nimble fingers and precision are the hallmarks of textile manufacturing, wherever it occurs in the world. Of course, computerisation has made big inroads to the textile manufacturing industry as well, but in many ways it remains the province of the developing countries, like China, India and Vietnam. Here the constellation of cheap labour and skilled work forms to make a perfect synergy for the manufacture of textiles. Much of the west’s clothing and fabrics are now produced in these developing nations and exported to the retail chains in Europe, the United States and Australia.
Textile Manufacturing in the Pacific Region
Linen manufacturing occurs within these regions as well, with this top end fabric making Manchester items like sheets and pillow slips for the more discerning consumer. Textile manufacturing in the Pacific region provides important jobs for many of the local people involved. The emergence of the Internet, has seen small businesses appear marketing their textile wares solely in the digital sphere. These businesses often source their product from developing nations and thus a supply chain is formed with benefits for the manufacturers. Smaller businesses, generally, pay more for their product than the giant retail corporations – which is obviously good for the local economies.
It seems as if all the basic items in life will soon be manufactured in the developing nations, because of the lower labour costs involved in their production. Clothing has already gone that way and other industries are following suit. If robotics ever delivers on its promises, we could see the demise of even these jobs for people in developing countries. However, the corporations will still probably park their factories in these countries because of lower overheads across the board. Textile manufacturing in the Pacific region will still exist for decades to come, I would predict.
Human skill versus computerised technological skills – it will be interesting to see how industries are transformed over the next twenty years via technological change. Whether we will be left with an Earth containing ten billion people and no jobs for the majority of them. The promise of labour saving devices and technology does not tell us what people are going to do with their lives and how they are going to find meaning. Will the whole world be aimlessly liking images on Facebook and attempting to derive meaning from that? Work has always had a first priority place within our lives – what happens when that is replaced by technology?