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Blue Jeans in Torreon Ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations: Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan Historical context.

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Presentation on theme: "Blue Jeans in Torreon Ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations: Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan Historical context."— Presentation transcript:


2 Blue Jeans in Torreon

3 Ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations: Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan Historical context

4 Historicizing Historicizing Blue Jean Manufacturing in Torreon Colonial legacies –Depopulation –Land alienation –Peasant exploitation and strict division of racial castes 1821: Independence from Spain, but still ruled by criollo elites 1848: Mexican American War…..Mexico loses Texas, SW US 1876-1910: The Porfiriato: –Dictatorship, modernization, US buys Mexico, land concentration, starvation among Indians 1910: Mexican revolution –Some redistribution of land—very uneven Post WWII : –Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) –Uneven subsidies and development in different parts of the country 1992: Communal land can be sold again

5 Mexico 2003 NAFTA 1994 Protectionism (ISI)  relatively open, market driven –8 th largest exporter: $52 Billion (1993)  $166 Billion (2000) –Net FDI: $3.5 Billion  $24.7 Billion “Middle income” country ~$5000 per capita Movement towards democracy? –PRI officially out of power  Vicente Fox PAN (center right) –Ciudad Juarez murders….no one wants to investigate


7 Aggregate Social Indicators Under-five mortality rate dropped from 46 to 29 per 1,000 between 1990 and 2000 Access to clean water 86 percent Literacy rate is over 90 percent HOW DO THESE STATISTICS OBSCURE DIFFERENCE?

8 “Two Mexico's” regional disparities

9 Two Mexico’s Transportation system

10 Two Mexico's Economic/Social Disparities Minimum wage declined from $5-$4/day. –50% of the workforce makes < $8/day Informal economies: 15% of pop. Infant Mortality: 13% v. 52% (20 th percentiles) Education: (7 years av.) 12.1% v. 1.1% (10 th percentiles) HDI: 55 th after Cuba, Belarus, Trinidad/Tobago

11 Agricultural workers: 8 million  6.5 million –New land ownership laws –Influx of cheap US corn –Little support for non-traditional exports Food prices grew by 257% Migration to the US 2X “The countryside can’t take it anymore ” Rural –urban disparities: conditions since NAFTA decline

12 “Huge sucking sound to the East”  China

13 Does Maquiladora growth benefit workers or just owners of corporations?

14 Torreon, Coahila, Mexico

15 Blue Jeans in Torreon Commodity chain approach Production and Marketing Chains  also Social Movements, Governments Bair and Gereffi, 2001: “By focusing on the chain or organizational network as the unit of analysis, rather than the firm, interesting questions about power, governance and the dynamics of chains emerge.”

16 Maquiladora Growth

17 Apparel Employment

18 Apparel industry indicators for Torreon

19 Main clients for Torreon apparel exports

20 Pre-NAFTA Manufacturer Dominated Assembly Network in Torreon

21 Post NAFTA Full Package Networks in Torreon

22 US¯Torreon apparel commodity chain activities and location

23 Top 10 apparel manufacturers in Torreon, Mexico ¯¯ July 2000

24 Changing Labor Conditions?-upside For some skilled jobs (cutting and laundry), labor “shortages” due to need for more skilled labor –High turnover- Labor wars Higher wages for some skilled laborers Upscale labels promote improved working conditions New factories are often better than US apparel factories Codes of Conduct displayed (but in English!!)

25 Changing Labor Conditions?-downside Concentration of ownership in few extended families –Increased failure of small and medium sized local firms –Downward pressure on wages for subcontractors Destruction of existing networks of cooperation –Distrust and greater competition among local firms Higher wages must be seen in context of 1994 devaluation of peso  decline in living standards since then Male privilege –Only workers in “skilled labor”: cutting and laundry –more readily promoted to skilled and management positions Mexican Government has reduced the power of unions to a minimum

26 How can we better explain these conclusions? Extend commodity chain analysis to include social movements in the consuming countries and government institutions in developing countries

27 Factory Code Initiatives in North UK: Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) US/Europe: SA 8000 (Social Accountability 8000) US: Workers Rights Consortium –University Clothing Fair Labor Association (FLA) –Adidas-Salomon, Eddie Bauer, GEAR for Sports, Joy Athletic, Liz Claiborne, Nordstrom, Nike, Patagonia, Reebok, Phillips-Van Heusen, Polo Ralph Lauren and Zephyr Graf-X. WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production)  Lower Standards

28 Maquila Solidarity Network Concern for workers rights and environmental/health “Toxic Fashions” and “Blue jean blues” require toxic chemicals Mercerization: Sulphur, caustic soda, acid Tinting and Overdyes-manually crunched, rubbed and sponged Bleaching and Stonewashing: Amylase, Laccase Drying and Baking: Toxic fumes from ovens Pollution of Water Supplies

29 Linking networks transnationally across Middle America “Network of Central American Women in Solidarity with Maquila Workers” negotiate code of conduct with Nicaraguan Labor Ministry

30 Government influences Mexican government antagonistic to union organizing and hesitant to investigate violent crimes against women. Some cross border organizing to combat some environmental concerns Torreon Chamber of Commerce

31 Bair and Gereffi Conclusions “ We have argued that the arrival of new buyers in Torreon has resulted in upgrading, both at the industry and at the firm level. But, the absence of an institutional environment that would help further diffuse the benefits of Torreon's export boom beyond the first tier of full-package firms means that there are limits to this process of upgrading, and they may have already been reached.” (2001) “Even within Mexico’s most dynamic apparel cluster, Torreon, the benefits generated by post-NAFTA export dynamism are contingent and transitory. Globalization entails uneven development for firms and workers both within and across regions and nations, and viewing the process through the lens of the commodity chains framework contributes to our understanding of who wins and who loses, and why.” (2003)

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