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Confronting Decline

The Political Economy of Deindustrialization in Twentieth-Century New England

David Koistinen

Publication Year: 2013

In recent decades, the decline of traditional manufacturing--deindustrialization--has been one of the most significant aspects of the restructuring of the American economy. David Koistinen examines the demise of the New England textile industry from the 1920s through the 1980s to better understand the process of industrial decline.

He systematically explores three policy responses to deindustrialization, each backed by a distinct set of interest groups: cutbacks in government regulations and business taxes, demanded by existing manufacturers; federal intervention to support New England's failing textile makers, urged by organized labor; and efforts to develop new industries and employment in the region, sought by service-sector companies and others.

Confronting Decline offers an in-depth look at the process of deindustrialization over time and shows how this pattern repeats itself throughout the country and the world.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-8


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p. viii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Studies of deindustrialization, or the decline of the traditional manufacturing sector, have largely focused on heavy industries, particularly steel and auto-mobile manufacturing in the Northeast and Midwest. In Confronting Decline, David Koistinen helps to address this imbalance by turning our attention to the of_ten neglected textile industry, focusing on the cotton textile industry in ...

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pp. xi-xii

I have accumulated many debts in the course of this long-running proj-ect. Dedicated reference librarians and staf_fers of interlibrary loan of_f_ices greatly facilitated my research. I am indebted to librarians at Yale?s Sterling Memorial Library; the Widener-Pusey, Baker, Littauer, and Loeb libraries at Harvard University; the Boston Public Library; the Massachusetts State Li-...

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pp. 1-9

The decline of traditional manufacturing, or ?deindustrialization,? has been one of the most significant aspects of the restructuring of the American econ-omy in the past few decades. Deindustrialization dates back to well before the contemporary era, however. As early as the 1920s, important American industries were in decline in the areas where they had originally f_lourished. ...

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1. Deindustrialization in New England

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pp. 10-25

Nineteen twenty-eight, one.oldstylenine.oldstyletwo.oldstylenine.oldstyle, one.oldstylenine.oldstylethree.oldstylezero.oldstyle, very bad. No jobs, no work, nowheres.N.scew.sc E.scng.scland tex.sctile w.scork.scer J.scoh.scn Falante, E.scdith.sc N.scou.scrse R.scog.scers, U.S.sc. R.scep.scresentative for Low.scell, M.scassac.sch.scu.scsetts, ?A.scddress b.scefore th.sce C.scom.scm.scittee?New England became one of the first parts of the United States to experience ...

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2. Retrenchment

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pp. 26-66

Labor in this state is watching, watching closely what is going to happen to the four.oldstyleeight.oldstyle-hour law. Labor put that law here. Labor is going to fight to maintain it.M.scassac.sch.scu.scsetts u.scnion offic.scial on p.scrop.scosals to ease th.sce state?s stric.sct lim.scits on w.scork.scing.sc h.scou.scrs, Report of Hearing, one.taboldstylenine.taboldstyletwo.taboldstyleeight.taboldstyle...

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3. Federal Assistance

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pp. 67-101

Under Abraham Lincoln it was said that America cannot be half free and half slave. I think we could well paraphrase this phrase today and, particu-larly in the textile industry, we can say that America cannot remain half union and half sweatshop. You must defeat the sweatshop or the sweatshop will defeat you. You must bring up the standard of wages and hours in the ...

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4. Economic Development

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pp. 102-138

There has been much discussion . . . about the disadvantageous position of some of our leading industries, such as textiles and boots and shoes, in meeting competition from other parts of the country and abroad. . . . We must bend our efforts towards inaugurating a new era of enterprise and skill Frederic.sck.sc H.sc. C.scu.scrtiss, c.sch.scairm.scan of th.sce Federal ...

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5. Small Business Financing in Mid-Twentieth-Century New England

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pp. 139-159

A campaign for economic development was one of the principal responses to the demise of textiles and other established industries in New England. Re-gional leaders encouraged the expansion of existing industries and the emer-gence of new ones, thereby seeking to create jobs to replace those lost in declin-ing sectors. Business elites initially headed New England?s drive for growth. The ...

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6. Small Business Finance and Electronics Spinoff Companies along Route 128

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pp. 160-186

M.scanag.scer of a B.scoston-area h.scig.sch.sc tec.sch.scnolog.scy sp.scinoff c.scom.scp.scany, c.scirc.sca one.taboldstylenine.taboldstylesix.taboldstylesix.taboldstyle, in Deu.scterm.scann, A concerted campaign to stimulate the growth of the New England economy was one of the principal responses to the decline of textiles and other es-tablished industries in the region. From the mid-1920s until the early 1950s, ...

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7. Responses to Deindustrialization in New England during the Cold War Years

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pp. 187-220

You adjust yourself to the closings and layof_fs as it comes along. . . . Form.scer M.scassac.sch.scu.scsetts tex.sctile w.scork.scer A.sclb.scert C.scote, one.taboldstylenine.taboldstyleeight.taboldstylefive.taboldstyle, in B.sclew.scett, Last GenerationElectronics progressed impressively in New England during the decades af-ter World War II. Other new sectors also emerged in the region during that ...

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8. Conclusions

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pp. 221-240

The responses to deindustrialization in twentieth-century New England have significance well beyond what occurred in one small region. The broader importance of New England events is explored in this concluding chapter. A First, the three-part model of responses to deindustrialization seen in New England is applicable in other places. The same pattern was apparent in the ...

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Appendix 1. Rates of Job Creation in Massachusetts and the United States

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pp. 241-242

Statistics on total employment give a more complete picture of a developed region’s overall economic situation than figures on manufacturing employment alone. This is so because gains in service-sector employment can compensate to a degree for drops in the number of manufacturing...

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Appendix 2. Cotton Textile Mill Wages

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pp. 243-244

The table that follows shows wages for selected categories of workers in cot- ton textile plants of New England and the South in July 1933, just before the cotton textile code of the National Recovery Administration (NRA) went into effect. The statistics demonstrate...

Appendix 3. A Contemporary Account of Spinoff Banking at the First National Bank of Boston

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pp. 245-246


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pp. 247-297


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pp. 299-317


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pp. 319-331

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About the Author

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pp. 345-346

David Koistinen is associate professor of history at William Paterson T.sch.sce University Press of Florida is the scholarly publishing agency for the State University System of Florida, comprising Florida A&M University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Florida State University, New College of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813048598
E-ISBN-10: 0813048591
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813049076

Page Count: 384
Illustrations: 8 tables, 1 figure
Publication Year: 2013

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Textile industry -- New England -- History.
  • Textile industry -- Massachusetts -- History.
  • Deindustrialization -- New England -- History.
  • New England -- Economic conditions.
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