I think that is a rather pessimistic point of view.
First off, I am not sure why you are advocating mercantilism. (A system that "was a cause of frequent European wars in that time and motivated colonial expansion.") I guess I fail to see where that system would succeed today, although perhaps you are talking about only certain specifics.
As for manufacturing, the US is still a powerhouse manufacturer. China just out paced the US in 2011 or 2012, but it is still about a fifth of the global manufacturing output.
As for who has it benefited? I'd say just about everyone. There is little point in moving manufactures overseas if you can't lower your price point as well. Everyone hates Walmart for some reason, but there is no other place that will let the poor stretch their dollar. Advanced wonderful gadgets like smart phones are priced that people in the trailer parks can afford them. US based manufacturing employees enjoy some pretty decent wages on average.
As for people like Meem, I would argue she is, under the circumstances, better off than if there were no textile manufacturers to work for. Meem works because her family needs the extra income she can bring in. If she didn't have that opportunity - then what? If she lived in a rural area, she could help out by the man hours on the farm. Otherwise you end up with things like child prostitution or being forced to beg on the streets.
One can look to China to see that people like Meem have a hope of a better future. Since China's explosion of growth, we have seen an explosion of middle class citizens. People who had no future as poor farmers could make enough to support themselves and send some money home by working in factories. As time has progressed, these factory workers wages have slowly increased as well.
It isn't a perfect system, but people are doing what they can to be part of it and take what opportunity it can afford them.