The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade. New Preface and Epilogue with Updates on Economic Issues and Main Characters

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade. New Preface and Epilogue with Updates on Economic Issues and Main Characters

Posted by belasarbanna | Published 2 months ago

With 108 ratings

By: Pietra Rivoli

Purchased At:

The keys to global business success, as taught by a T-shirt's journey

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a critically-acclaimed narrative that illuminates the globalization debates and reveals the key factors to success in global business. Tracing a T-shirt's life story from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a U.S. storefront before arriving at the used clothing market in Africa, the book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy. Along the way, this fascinating exploration addresses a wealth of compelling questions about politics, trade, economics, ethics, and the impact of history on today's business landscape. This new printing of the second edition includes a revised preface and a new epilogue with updates through 2014 on the people, industries, and policies related to the T-shirt's life story.

Using a simple, everyday T-shirt as a lens through which to explore the business, economic, moral, and political complexities of globalization in a historical context, Travels encapsulates a number of complex issues into a single identifiable object that will strike a chord with readers as they:

  • Investigate the sources of sustained competitive advantage in different industries
  • Examine the global economic and political forces that explain trade patters between countries
  • Analyze complex moral issues related to globalization and international business
  • Discover the importance of cultural and human elements in international trade

This story of a simple product illuminates the many complex issues which businesspeople, policymakers, and global citizens are touched by every day.

This book was amazing! I had to by this for an international economics class, and as such, was unsure of what it would be like. I mean, it was a book about t-shirts, what could possibly be so interesting, right? Well, as it turns out, a lot of things. You have no idea what kinds of crazy regulations, politics, social stigmas and drama can go into making a t-shirt. I think the most interesting thine was learning about the cotton industry in Texas and how the politics and innovation behind it makes Texas the number one cotton producer in the world. Considering the climate in the region where it's grown, it would seem highly unlikely for that to be true. But that;s where the science and innovation comes through. It's so fascinating. Being able to see just how complex making a shirt in the international market can be; from growing cotton to when you purchase and even what happens after you donate, shows (on a small scale), just how complicated the international economy is. This book is a wonderful read and recommend it for anyone who as any interest in the global economy.

- lauren_mitchell

The strongest tool in the novel, is choosing a T-shirt to drive the narrative which made it possible to learn about Texas Cotton, the Chinese hukou system, and African clothing markets all at once; the book flows entertainingly well while retaining pertinent facts and points. One area of improvement could have been a clearer stance on whether globalization is better or worse for the general well-being of the world. However, the thorough nature of exploring all the counter arguments and points makes for a compelling economic and political profile of a commodity that few people will ever think about. Keeping it as neutral as possible helps readers feel like learners and not indoctrinates. In the end though, I think it is pretty clear from the conclusion and epilogue that Pietra Rivoli seems to believe growing interdependence with more open communication would be a strength, not a weakness. In the conclusion as she meditates on her past experience as a global labor activist, she ponders Libanius’ words over trade as a source of bonding and sharing; although you can tell she may have her reservations about some injustices in the world due to globalization, she also sees the potential. Ultimately, I think she believes that a rising tide does not have to sink any boats as long as the process of globalization is handled ethically and gradually, with more consumer appreciation and education. The strongest tool in the novel, is choosing a T-shirt to drive the narrative which made it possible to learn about Texas Cotton, the Chinese hukou system, and African clothing markets all at once; the book flows entertainingly well while retaining pertinent facts and points. One area of improvement could have been a clearer stance on whether globalization is better or worse for the general well-being of the world. However, the thorough nature of exploring all the counter arguments and points makes for a compelling economic and political profile of a commodity that few people will ever think about. Keeping it as neutral as possible helps readers feel like learners and not indoctrinates. In the end though, I think it is pretty clear from the conclusion and epilogue that Pietra Rivoli seems to believe growing interdependence with more open communication would be a strength, not a weakness. In the conclusion as she meditates on her past experience as a global labor activist, she ponders Libanius’ words over trade as a source of bonding and sharing; although you can tell she may have her reservations about some injustices in the world due to globalization, she also sees the potential. Ultimately, I think she believes that a rising tide does not have to sink any boats as long as the process of globalization is handled ethically and gradually, with more consumer appreciation and education.

- caleb_roberts

I had to read this book for a college class on international trade and I did not expect to enjoy this book. Academic books are normally very dry. But I actually really enjoyed this book. It was so interesting to learn about the lives of all these people across the world and how their lives connect. Who would have thought a book about international trade would keep me entertained for hours? I do recommend this books to whoever feels like they don't truly understand international trade, none of the concepts in here are overly academic in their language but its not dumbed down either which I appreciate.

- nancy_cox

I read this book for a global econ grad class, and it was one of the most engaging texts I ever had to use for school. The author explains how different ideas, factories, farms, and people all over the world are a part of bringing a basic product to every store. I don't think I would've ever read this for fun, but if you're looking for an interesting and well-written informative text that goes by quickly, here it is.

- monserrat_ross

Still a great, somewhat iconoclastic, real-world introduction to globalization issues.

- ezekiel_brooks

This book is very well written and layed out, and provides a quizzical perspective into the complex life of a simple T shirt. Thank you to the author for her circular approach of all those affected

- giovanni_adams

I use this in my graduate level supply chain management course. Students relate to the simple supply chain and are amazed by the impact of government intervention. Easy to read, but meaty.

- alayah_torres

Very informative book, beyond my imagination of what goes into the process.

- cody_cox

A super book on the complexity of modern business and trade. As usual China and the USA are winners. Long live free trade and capitalism.

- anderson_patel

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