Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan
Chapter 12: Manufacturing textile futures: innovation, adaptation and the UK textiles industry
The significance of manufacturing to its region of location is a question of constant concern to geographers. (Miller, 1962:2). Economic geography used to be dominated by studies of manufacturing activities, but over the past 30 years geographers began to turn their attention to understanding the rise and role of business and professional services, financial services and retailing. The study of manufacturing has been largely neglected in the UK as it was considered that manufacturing was an activity in decline and was something undertaken in low-cost economies (Bell, 1974). Globalization resulted in a fundamental shift in the geographies of manufacturing; some manufacturing activity was decentralized to low-cost locations. Low-cost locations have a comparative advantage in producing labour-intensive goods more cheaply and in higher volumes (Dicken, 2011), due to lower wage costs, longer working hours and reduced environmental regulations (Daniels, 2005). This resulted in an unprecedented growth in price-based competition for developed market economies. But this did not mean the decline of manufacturing in high-cost locations (Bryson and Rusten, 2011).
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