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Unformatted text preview: H is model indicates that this will occur i f t he savings i n labor costs per unit o f t he product are greater than, a nd t hus more t han compensate for, the increase in transport costs incurred in moving the industry from the T o establish this relationship in a systenlatiic W eber refined his concept o f t he 'isodapane.' An isodapane, o r cost surface, contains points with the same costs, whether be transport costs o r l abor costs (see Figure 2.7 for an example). W eber also introduced the concept o f t he 'critical isodapane' which is t hat which reflects the locations where the costS o f a factor are just low enough to outweigh any additional transport costs that would be incurred by moving the site o f p roduction towards the labor location. 2 .7 Isodapanes Source: based on Weber 1929: 240. Having analyzed l abor as a f actor i n i ndustrial location, Weber moved o n t o what he called 'agglomerative and deglomerative factors' ( I 929: those that cause industrial activities t o cluster o r n ot a key economic geography issue and one that continues to occupy many economic geographers, as we shall see in later chapters. In considering this issue, Weber realized t he l imits o f his abstracted a nd d eductive approach; the hitherto considered causes oflocation were simple quantities which could be deduced from the known facts o f s ome isolated industrial process . . . The groups oflocational factors now to be considered are, o n the contrary, distinguished by t he fact that result from the social n ature o f p roduction, a nd are accordingly n ot t o be discovered by analyzing an isolated process o f p roduction. (1929: 125, emphasis in original) In examining rhe dynamics o f agglomeration, Weber used the cost surface o r isodapane method (Figure 2.8). H e pothesized that 'whatever the situation and whatever the o f o utput o f any individual unit, i f its critical 23 24 TRADITIONAL lOCATION THEORY TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHIES B ox 2 .1 (continued) z!3 ~ sectors such as electronics assembly. W omen in the maquiladoras are subordinated in intersecting ways that contribute to persistently low wages and poor treatment (Salzinger 1997; Cravey 1998; Wright 1999). As Elvia Arriola puts it: The ideal maquiladora worker thus emerged as a hybrid o f stereotyped images based o n sex, race and class she was n ot only more docile and passive than Mexican men, b ut submissive, easily trainable and unlikely to pose problems w ith u nion organizing. (Arriola 4\ 2 .8 Note: The shaded area is the area Source: based o n Weber 1929: 139. B ox 2 .1 THE PULL OF LOWER COSTS - MAQUILADORAS O ver one million people work in the nearly 3,000 factories known as maquiladoras clustered in northern Mexico along the US border (Mexico's Maquila Online Directory 2008). TIle maquiladora p henomenon is related to other attempts to attract industries t o particular locations based on offering lower costs. Like free maquiladoras benefit from certain tax there is n o customs d uty owed for either the import o f materials from the US to the o r for the export o f finished t o t he US. How­ ever, as the following excerpt from t he aimed at US manufacturers makes to the factory workers. savings lie in the wages Though the industry continues to change and grow, the cost-saving benefits o f manufacturing in Mexico's maquiladoras remain constant: The entry-level wage for low-level jobs in Mexico is approximately 25% o f the hourly • wage paid to workers in the U.S., which nets you enormous cost savings. Mexico's standard work-week o f 4 8 hours yields unbeatable speed o f production without the financial drain o f overtime pay. little capital investment turns projects that would be r mt_n.·"h; in the U.S. into lucrative close nrm:irnitv While the average wages for assembly line workers in the maquiladoras vary from location to location, and from sector t o sector, in 2006 it was less t han US$3 per hour, including mandatory fringe benefits. In California, a comparable job would pay perhaps $20 per h our including benefits. 1 he m aquiladora workforce is predominantly young and female, especially in key c ontinued established in 1966 in a nd C iudad J uarez u nder t he Border Industrialization Program. At first maquiladoras could be located only within 20 kilometers o f the US border o r i n nearby specified free trade zones. As t he maquiladora program grew, these restrictions on location were relaxed but still the vast majority (about 2,500 o f the 3,000 maquiladoras) are in border cities o f border states. Tijuana is h ome to over 500 maquiladoras whi.le C uidad Juarez hosts almost 300. Border cities Reynosa, Mexicali, Matamoras and Tecate each have over 100 maquiladoras. US-based and other multinationals take advantage o f d uty free provisions to set up plants to manufacture o r assemble products. Key sectors are electronics and electrical goods, and automotive parts a nd components. Sony, for example, employs about 7,500 at its factori...
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This document was uploaded on 01/24/2014.

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