After the mills closed along the Blackstone River, the owners moved their business down south. It made sense, since cotton mills were the bulk of their business and the cotton fields were in the south.
These transported mills became a backbone industry for the American south until a series of U.S. Presidents, starting with Reagan, continuing with Bush, Clinton, then Bush again … traded away our business to countries which pay workers pennies on our dollar — and don’t have significant health and safety regulations — or child labor laws. Or unions.
In fairness, it was supposed to be a two-way street, bringing Americans less expensive products and ramping up our home economy with an infusion of new trading partners. As most of us feared, it did exactly the opposite.
It cost America millions of jobs that have never been replaced. It did not lower costs of goods now being made in India and China and Malaysia. Anyone who has tried to buy cotton fabric can attest to the dramatic increase in costs and decrease in quality that has been the real result.
What have we have to show for it? Empty hulks of the mills and factories that once buzzed with business. Reminders why it’s always unwise to sell your birthright for a pot of lentils.