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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, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-95014-2
368 pages
November 2014
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, 2nd Edition (1118950143) cover image

Description

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.

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Table of Contents

PREFACE ix

PROLOGUE xvii

PART I KING COTTON 1

1 How America Has Dominated the Global Cotton Industry for 200 Years 3

2 The History of American Cotton 9

3 Back at the Reinsch Farm 24

4 All God’s Dangers Ain’t the Subsidies 49

PART II MADE IN CHINA 75

5 Cotton Comes to China 77

6 The Long Race to the Bottom 92

7 Sisters in Time 105

8 The Unwitting Conspiracy 120

PART III TROUBLE AT THE BORDER 141

9 Returning to America 143

10 Dogs Snarling Together 156

11 Perverse Effects and Unintended Consequences of T-Shirt Trade Policy 171

12 45 Years of ‘‘Temporary’’ Protectionism End in 2009-----Now What? 196

PART IV MY T-SHIRT FINALLY ENCOUNTERS A FREE MARKET 213

13 Where T-Shirts Go after the Salvation Army Bin 215

14 How Small Entrepreneurs Clothe East Africa with Old American T-Shirts 227

15 Mitumba: Friend or Foe to Africa? 239

CONCLUSION 253

EPILOGUE: DEVELOPMENTS 2009---2014 262

I: American Cotton Is Still King 262

II: The Race to the Bottom Speeds Up 270

III: The Alphabet Armies March On 277

IV: Competition Heats Up in the Used Clothing Business 282

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 286

NOTES 288

BIBLIOGRAPHY 310

INDEX 335

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Author Information

PIETRA RIVOLI, PHD, is Professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, where she specializes in international business, finance, and social issues in business. Travels of a T-Shirt has won numerous awards and has been translated into fourteen languages.

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