T-Shirt In A Global Economy

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The book “Tee shirt in an International Economy: ‘An Economic Expert Analyzes the marketplaces, Power, and Politics of World Trade’ by Pietra Rivoli may possibly appear off-putting to academic economic experts habituated to degrading formulas for checking out for relaxation. Scholars and calculative minded economic experts econometricians must, however, get rid of their discrimination and effort enjoying this particular book. Although this book not written exclusively in financial language plus it is very well merely composed; it is generally associated to economic issues of the foremost significance.

The book “T-Shirt in a Global Economy” can perhaps yet, serve as a prototype of a new kind of popular knowing, whereby narration, history, and lots of attributes which are missing out on in a lot of books of economics, are assembled in order to appeal to us and yet enable us to understand the complicated phenomenon in the financial science in extremely easy and simple language. (Rivoli, 67).

The author in this book talks about a variety of concerns that include: whether the brand-new concept of financial globalization has any benefits or disadvantages and for whom? Whether this sort of globalization enables to or enchains the developing parts of the world? Whether it provides a larger choice for consumers sector or it improves the market-fixing oligopolies? Whether the International Monetary Funds economic experts or the aggressive activists who are totally versus globalization?

These above mentioned essential yet complex concerns are not very easy to respond to and a lot of paper work, a number of countless hours of calculation time, and numerous estimations has formerly been exhausted in order to discover responses to them.

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Rivoli states her very own remark utilizing what she considers, with a little extreme self-effacement, ‘an extensive story’. This thought of her is deceivingly simple to understand, that is: to tell the expedition of a low-cost suggestion tee shirt during its entire fiscal life-cycle, as a way of trying to understand and explain a lot of intricacies associated with the complete globalization procedure.

Discussion and Analysis

The low-priced t-shirt is a pervasive part of global world. Regardless of the irregular speck of offensive wit or opinionated aggravation, t-shirts are quite harmless. Nevertheless, whilst customers without a care in the world purchase and after that dispose of millions of t-shirts every year, the notion of open buying and selling in t-shirts fabric and goods in common gives a quiver in the spine of manufacturer and politicians in the whole world. The plain t-shirt has been considered excessively essential by a lot of in-control to experience the disrepute of open market. (Rivoli, 95).

The destiny t-shirt market is seldom in control of the open market and this is why its story worth narrating. The author, Pietra Rivoli, in this book narrates her t-shirt’s account with the keen judgment like that of an economist and an apparent care for everyone who is somehow caught up in this meandering global process. The story starts from the cotton fields of West Texas to the industrial units of Shanghai to a screen printing store in Miami, unpredictably, to a Salvation Army delivery in uptown Maryland, a second-hand garments merchant in Brooklyn and the Mitumba shops of Tanzania, which is the biggest revelation in her narrative account may perhaps concern where the worth is supplementary in the fabrication of a t-shirt.

The t-shirt she claims to have bought was printed with a gaudily dyed imitation and it had a word “Horida” written under it and priced for $5, 99.  This simple shirt was imported for $1, 42 which included 24 cents in tax. Therefore the huge bulk of the worth extra to this imported cloth was supplemented locally in the last few of the phases, phases that require extremely less manual labor which includes: scheming the mimic picture, endorsing it against the shirt, and keeping it in the drugstore’s t-shirt container. Soon after that Rivoli informs that it requires around 15 cents value of fabric to make a characteristic t-shirt which is merely 2.5% of its closing price. (Rivoli, 105).  More surprises follow when Rivoli brings Nelson Reinsch into the story, who is a casual cotton farmer in West Texas, contrasting his operations with those of farmers in developing countries.

It perhaps is not a big revelation that the twenty five thousand cotton farmers in United States ply significant political authority, while the eighteen million cotton farmers in West Africa do not. It is astonishing that cotton farmers of the United States have been for the most part untied from physical labor, although farmer in developing countries work hard at wearisome farm duties.

For the readers the shock is the extent to which American farmers and their inventive supportive press charge out of cotton plants at all potential turn and thus selling not only cotton and seeds of cotton other than spinning which was one time tossed away for example leaves, stems, bolls and even dirt, hooked on for food of cattle and cotton seed hull in the animal feed, fertilizer, and even an industrial-strength currency used to bung pour outs in oil wells.

Afterward, the readers see the similar industrial economy as second-handed garments merchants sell apparently ineffective unwanted items for industrialized cleaning rag and substandard for mattresses, cushions, lagging and other similar stuff.  Cloth producers in a marketplace economy are imaginatively economical. (Rivoli, 126) One more astonishing thing is the level to which American cotton farmer can tie together science to organize their crops, for instance, spraying them and make the plants brown and brittle with no need to wait for a small crop rage subsequent to nature give its own firm freeze.

Especially astounding, nonetheless, is that still with these hi-tech activities, the cost of American cotton is significantly higher than the world value and that cotton can in general be full-grown economically in the most underdeveloped countries.  The main part of this book is Rivoli’s narration of her visit to China, from where the shirt is produced from unrefined cotton. The narration of the story actually begins with one of her students, who are enthusiastically objecting on the subject of the societal and economic problems produced in the process of the manufacturing of t-shirts used by youthful who are against globalization. Thus this actually lay down the earlier Ricardian neo-classical philosophy. (Rivoli, 156).

The story then continues, and the author talks about the yielded raw cotton to a thread rotating plant and afterwards to a cloth industrial unit, and then finally the completed t-shirt which is sent back to the market in Fort Lauderdale where the author buys it. Rivoli believes that the labor working in these industrial units are not over burdened as the environment where they are working is already very crude.

They are subjected to less movement, which deprives them of the better opportunities which they might find in a struggling employment market and restricting them to a certain extent monopolistic conditions.  (Rivoli, 189) The cloth industry of America is apprehensive of the attack of this kind of challenge from China. The author compassionately gives explanation about their protectionist inclinations and strategies; however eventually as the economics line of work all together takes the side with the reason of open market.


All along the story we discover plenty regarding British and American trade history, trade theory, and the political economy of trade discussions. The book is substantially improved with chronological data, trade and employment statistics and reference to scholarly text.

The author has received her reward by producing this extremely accessible text that has helped in teaching economics to the undergraduate students a great deal on the subject as compared to a number of of the other books that they presently study. A lot of people who read this book might think that Rivoli’s winding up of the story is unexceptional. She discusses both the advantages and the disadvantages brought about by the function of international markets, and she identifies the scarcity of strictly open trade.

In the end, as commented by the Rivoli herself: It is political reactions to markets….that are at the center of my T-shirt’s life story. To either glorify or vilify the markets is to dangerously oversimplify the world of trade.’ (Rivoli, 212) This kind of good judgment might be obsolete however it is stimulating. In this perspective, to criticize that the author does not talk about the texts of Stiglitz, or any of the other current literature on the topic, would in fact simply be pedantic.

Works Cited

 Rivoli, Pietra. The Travels Of A T-Shirt In The Global Economy: An Economist Examines The Markets, Power And Politics Of World Trade. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2005.

Cite this page

T-Shirt In A Global Economy. (2017, Mar 03). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/t-shirt-in-a-global-economy-essay

T-Shirt In A Global Economy

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