NYC Make America Again! T-Shirt Project

In May 2013 NPR’s Planet Money started a Kickstarter campaign to make a t-shirt and tell the story of how it was made. Planet Money T-Shirt Kickstarter campaign

Using labor from places such as Bangladesh and Columbia each t-shirt costed about $12.42.

T-Shirt costs

We at StartUpTown will be making our own t-shirt using as many high-quality local inputs as possible to demonstrate the Economic Impact Rating. Our efforts will be featured in a documentary called I Could Be….

Economic Impact Rating

At one time New York City’s Garment District was the center for manufacturing clothing. According to an article on Zady:

By 1910 an estimated 70 percent of the clothing worn by U.S. women originated in the Garment District…. And as of 1931, the Garment District had the highest concentration of garment manufacturers in the world.

Fast Fashion Waste

That is no longer the case and one of the major problems that keeps garment manufacturing overseas and out of the United States is “fast fashion.” An explain in a video on Online MBA:

‘Fast Fashion’ refers to clothing and accessories that are designed to reflect current industry trends, yet produced using less expensive materials to ensure a low price tag. For the last two decades, clothing retailers like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 have popularized Fast Fashion among everyday consumers….

The Fast Fashion trend has also led to environmental concerns. Every year, the clothing industry produces 2 million tons of waste, emits 2.1 million tons of carbon dioxide, and uses 70 million tons of water; these figures have significantly risen in the years since Fast Fashion became a retailing standard.

Fast Fashion is also toxic; a Greenpeace Detox campaign report found residues of a variety of hazardous chemicals in clothing made by 20 global fashion brands.

In another article on Zady, Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashionis quoted as saying:

We are buying new consumer products based on rapid changes in fashion that are engineered by corporations. This requires being dissatisfied with things we just bought and being seduced by the idea of instant gratification and novelty. It’s like we’re turning into children.

Given all these issues, it is still very important to bring manufacturing back to New York City. Large cities are where the economic activity occurs. Reddit user atrubetskoy created a map showing just how important cities are to the American economy. Atrubetskoy took gross metropolitan product data — the total of economic activity in a metropolitan area, and the equivalent of gross domestic product for cities — and noted that the top 23 cities have GMPs that add up to about to half of overall United States GDP.

The orange regions fall in those top 23 metro areas, and the blue region falls outside them, accounting for the other half of GDP:

GMP Metro areas

Top 23 MSAs
MSA GMP
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 1,358,416
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 765,759
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 571,008
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 449,439
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 448,741
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 420,340
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 364,009
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 360,395
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 336,232
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 294,589
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 274,105
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 258,819
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 220,167
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 208,379
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 201,653
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 177,410
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 173,908
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 167,886
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 157,260
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 146,975
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 137,189
St. Louis, MO-IL 136,677
Pittsburgh, PA 123,577

Another important issue is that small businesses and startups are the backbone of the American economy, and according to a report done by Tim Kane for Kauffman Foundation:

[W]ithout startups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S. economy. This fact is true on average, but also is true for all but seven years for which the United States has data going back to 1977…. Startups create an average of 3 million new jobs annually. All other ages of firms, including companies in their first full years of existence up to firms established two centuries ago, are net job destroyers, losing 1 million jobs net combined per year.

Job Creation: Startups vs Existing Firms

Yet governments at all levels (local, state, and federal) continue to subsidize large corporations. As David Cay Johnston writes in an Al Jazeera America article:

State and local governments have awarded at least $110 billion in taxpayer subsidies to business, with 3 of every 4 dollars going to fewer than 1,000 big corporations, the most thorough analysis to date of corporate welfare revealed today.

Federal, state and local governments publish exhaustively detailed statistical reports on welfare to the poor, disabled, sick, elderly and other individuals who cannot support themselves. The cost of subsidized food, housing and medical care are all documented at government expense, with the statistics posted on government websites.

But corporate welfare is not the subject of any comprehensive reporting at the federal level. Disclosures by state and local governments vary greatly, from substantial to nearly nonexistent.

NYC It’s Time to Make America Again!

I love made in NY

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