he story that this book tells is, from one perspective, simple, linear, and
Capital seeks inequality, because inequality allows capital to
proﬁt from low wages. Over the twentieth century, two principal methods
for accomplishing this have been to bring cheap workers to points of pro-
duction (immigration) and to move production to where workers can be
paid less (capital flight). When workers, unions, or governments have suc-
ceeded in obtaining better wages and working conditions, industries have
repeatedly resorted to these tactics. When workers, unions, and govern-
ments have tried to woo industries, or halt capital flight, by granting more
advantages to industries, they have found themselves caught in an endless
race to the bottom.
Patterns and Paradoxes
There are several aspects of this story, however, that are less well known.
First, most accounts place this phenomenon in the second half of the twen-
tieth century. I argue that the events of the late twentieth century continue a
pattern begun by the earliest industry in the country, the textile industry, a
century earlier. Second, most accounts treat immigration and capital flight
separately. My approach insists that they are most fruitfully studied to-
gether, as aspects of the same phenomenon of economic restructuring.
Finally, despite over a century of evidence revealing how attempts to attract
or conciliate industries have contributed to the race to the bottom, policy-
makers continue to advocate these attempts.
From another perspective, each chapter in this book tries to present a
case study that shows the unexpected, the apparently paradoxical, and the
complex aspects of the overall picture. Draper, the company that promoted