The New York Times: Once a Lace Capital, Now Riven by French Politics

Technology, changing fashions, competition in Asia combined with the European Union ending textile import quotes in 2005, eroded jobs in the lace industry, reports Liz Alderman for the New York Times. “From steel mills to auto factories, the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs to globalization has created social distress – and competing visions from the candidates about how to fix it,” Alderman writes. “France’s rigid labor laws, despite recent reforms, add a layer of complexity by making it difficult for companies to adjust to a shifting economy.” Manufacturing is responsible for 10 percent of France’s employment, and debate in France’s presidential election focuses on jobs, trade and foreign competition. While Marine Le Pen supports protectionist policies and Emmanuel Macron argues France can be a global competitor with revised labor rules. Alderman describes a French lace company pushed into bankruptcy before being purchased by a Chinese investment firm that introduced efficiency measures while maintaining quality. High-end clothing manufacturers, including luxury labels in Asia, are adamant that France’s artisan lace continue to be available, but French are pessimistic that manufacturing jobs could ever be completely restored. – YaleGlobal

The New York Times: Once a Lace Capital, Now Riven by French Politics

Globalization silenced the historic lace looms of Calais, and blue-collar voters there represent the forces powering Le Pen and the far right.
Liz Alderman
Monday, May 1, 2017

Read the article.

Elian Peltier contributed reporting.

© 2017 The New York Times Company

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