Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy
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Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy

Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan

This interdisciplinary volume provides a critical and multi-disciplinary review of current manufacturing processes, practices, and policies, and broadens our understanding of production and innovation in the world economy. Chapters highlight how firms and industries modify existing processes to produce for established and emerging markets through dynamic and design-driven strategies. This approach allows readers to view transformations in production systems and processes across sectors, technologies and industries. Contributors include scholars ranging from engineering to policy to economic geography. The evidence demonstrates that manufacturing continues to matter in the world economy.
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Chapter 12: Manufacturing textile futures: innovation, adaptation and the UK textiles industry

Megan Ronayne


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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