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The Box by Marc Levinson

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Chapter 14

 

 

Just in Time

Barbie was conceived as the all-American girl. In truth, she never was: at her inception, in 1959, Mattel Corp. arranged to make her at a factory in Japan. A few years later it added a plant in Taiwan, along with a large cadre of Taiwanese women who sewed Barbie’s clothes in their homes. By the middle of the 1990s, Barbie’s citizenship had become even less distinct. Workers in China produced her statuesque figure, using molds from the United States and other machines from Japan and Europe. Her nylon hair was Japanese, the plastic in her body from Taiwan, the pigments American, the cotton clothing from China. Barbie, simple girl though she is, had developed her very own global supply chain.1

Supply chains like Barbie’s ...

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