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Cotton 27.03.2013.docx

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McMaster University
Jack Leach

Cotton Ghandi, was a terrible economist. He wanted to be self-sufficient. Prosperity lies in NOT being self- sufficient. Output at each production facility needs to be quite large. Independence and self-sufficiency is the path to poverty and not the path to prosperity. Expansion of the English cotton industry: ● From almost nothing, the British cotton industry grew until it accounted for 16% of all employment ● In 1750, France and England were the leading textile producers – they were leaders yet they were not production much every year. Only produced 3 million pounds of cotton yarn annually ● At the same time, Bengal produced 85 million pounds of yarn – Competed against England in some markets (Africa), dominated other markets 1 in 6 workers in England worked in the textile industry ● In 1750 every stage of the production of cotton textiles was done by hand – Cleaning the cotton and removing debris – “Carding”: cotton is placed between two handheld cards studded with pins; the cards are pulled against each other to align the cotton fibres – A length of fibres—a “roving”—was assembled – The roving was spun into yarn ● The coarser yarns were spun on the spinning wheel ● Very fine yarns were made only in India, using the “spindle and whorl” – Yarn woven into cloth on a hand loom ● All of these steps were mechanized during the industrial revolution ● Again, the mechanization was a response to British factor prices: high wage, cheap capital and cheap energy – Initially, other countries did not follow the British lead because they had cheaper labour, more expensive capital – Subsequent innovations were “undirected” and reduced the capital cost of mechanization – By 1850 English-style cotton mills were being built even in low-wage countries The Spinning Wheel The Spinning Jenny – It was an expensive machine. ● Objective is to allow one spinner to spin several roves at once ● On one side, a row of spindles ● On the other side, a row of pins around which the roves were wound ● In between, a sliding bar which pulled and stret
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