Take pants. Ninety-eight percent of them are made overseas out of fibers that travel 13,000 miles from farm to rack. Within two years of the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), North Carolina local apparel business owner Eric Henry was forced to lay off 86 of his 100 employees because he could no longer compete with multinational brands that rushed to offshore production. Those 86 jobs, and the health care and retirement benefits that went with them, are now performed by workers who make 26 cents an hour and labor under dangerous, sometimes deadly, workplace conditions.
From Local Pants to Local Energy: The Case for Localizing Our Economies