Friday, April 06, 2007

Self-Sufficiency: Road to Poverty and Bad Fashion

From Wired Magazine, a story on the "100 Mile Suit:"

When educator and designer Kelly Cobb decided to make a man's suit only from materials produced within 100 miles of her home, she knew it would be a challenge. But Cobb's locally made suit turned into a exhausting task. The suit took a team of 20 artisans several months to produce -- 500 man-hours of work in total -- and the finished product wears its rustic origins on its sleeve.

Cobb's suit is a demonstration of the massive manufacturing power of the global economy. Industrial processes and cheap foreign labor belie the tremendous resources that go into garments as simple as a T-shirt.


Here's a photo gallery of the 100-mile "suit."

Thanks to Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek, who points out that "Self-sufficiency is the road to poverty."

Having access to the global economy gives us access to the best the world has to offer, which is usually better (and cheaper) than what your local area has to offer. Think globally, shop globally, travel globally and invest globally.

4 Comments:

At 4/07/2007 4:37 AM, Anonymous bob wright said...

I wonder if we'll see the U of M football team wearing a set of 100 mile uniforms this fall when they kickoff in their first home game.

 
At 4/07/2007 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having access to the global economy gives us access to the best the world has to offer, which is usually better (and cheaper) than what your local area has to offer. Think globally, shop globally, travel globally and invest globally.

What you are ignoring is the monetary and environmental cost of shipping things over distances. In cases like clothing, the infrastructure and people needed to make clothes may justify a level of centralization and shipping to the final destination.

However, your blanket statement is false in other situations. For example, things that don't require as much centralization, like food, are much better taken care of by local markets, in a sustainable way as possible.

If you look at how businesses are being run, and then start looking at some of the energy availability curves, and factor in increasing fuel prices, you will find that shipping things, especially by truck as currently done, is really unsustainable in the long run. We very well may be wasting the resources we have at hand (until somebody invents something like fusion) in order to produce cheap, poorly made goods in foreign countries, shipping them here by boat and truck, and then throwing them in large piles that are polluting our ground water.

I, too, see many possibilities with the global economy taking off, but I believe that local economies are very important, too. Sometimes, local businesses can do things more efficiently than a country around the world.

 
At 4/08/2007 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you finally found Bigfoot.

 
At 4/11/2009 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guarantee you that guy is happier than you are.

 

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