The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade

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9780471648499: The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade

Praise for THE TRAVELS OF A T-SHIRT IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

"Engrossing . . . (Rivoli) goes wherever the T-shirt goes, and there are surprises around every corner . . . full of memorable characters and vivid scenes."
Time

"An engaging and illuminating saga. . . . Rivoli follows her T-shirt along its route, but that is like saying that Melville follows his whale. . . . Her nuanced and fair-minded approach is all the more powerful for eschewing the pretense of ideological absolutism, and her telescopic look through a single industry has all the makings of an economics classic."
The New York Times

"Rarely is a business book so well written that one would gladly stay up all night to finish it. Pietra Rivoli's The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is just such a page-turner."
CIO magazine

"Succeeds admirably . . . T-shirts may not have changed the world, but their story is a useful account of how free trade and protectionism certainly have."
Financial Times

"[A] fascinating exploration of the history, economics, and politics of world trade . . . The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a thought-provoking yarn that exhibits the ugly, the bad, and the good of globalization, and points to the unintended positive consequences of the clash between proponents and opponents of free trade."
Star-Telegram (Fort Worth)

"Part travelogue, part history, and part economics, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is ALL storytelling, and in the grand style. A must-read."
—Peter J. Dougherty, Senior Economics Editor, Princeton University Press author of Who's Afraid of Adam Smith?

"A readable and evenhanded treatment of the complexities of free trade . . . As Rivoli repeatedly makes clear, there is absolutely nothing free about free trade except the slogan."
San Francisco Chronicle

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From the Back Cover:

Praise for THE TRAVELS OF A T-SHIRT IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

"Pietra Rivoli has accomplished the nearly impossible. The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy bursts with life and color, humor and drama. At the same time, it is solidly grounded in theory, fact, and a nuanced insight into political economy."
—Charles S. Pearson, Director and Professor of International EconomicsThe Johns Hopkins University, author of United States Trade Policy: A Work in Progress

"Part travelogue, part history, and part economics, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is ALL storytelling, and in the grand style. Globalization critics who read this book will understand why it is impossible to lift countries out of poverty without the power of free markets, while policymakers will learn the equally bracing lesson that economic progress for the wealthiest of nations means nothing without the democratic political institutions that uplift the poorest of nations. A must-read."
—Peter J. Dougherty, Senior Economics Editor, Princeton University Press, author of Who's Afraid of Adam Smith?

"Professor Rivoli puts a human face on a subject that is often described as arcane and something only worthy of study by policy wonks. She captures the politics, personalities, and policy considerations that shape U.S. trade policy and vividly describes how special interests influence who wins and who loses from global competition."
—Former Ambassador Ronald J. Sorini, President, Trade Negotiations and Legislative AffairsSandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.

"This book is unlike any text in International Economics 101. It's totally entertaining and without those dreadful equations. The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy tells the drama of globalization through real people and their daily lives. Rivoli recounts the trials of winners and losers on three continents. From a fascinating journey, she distills economic and political lessons that just make good sense."
—Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior FellowInstitute for International Economics, Washington, D.C.

"Rivoli weaves together the stories of individuals, companies, and countries in the textiles and apparel industries to reveal a globalization that is empowering as well as entangling, and more surprising than we ever imagined."
—H. Richard Friman, Eliot Fitch Professor of International Studies, Marquette University author of Patchwork Protectionism

From the Inside Flap:

In The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, business professor Pietra Rivoli takes the reader on a fascinating around-the-world adventure to reveal the life story of her six-dollar T-shirt. Traveling from a West Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory, and from trade negotiations in Washington to a used clothing market in Africa, Rivoli examines international trade through the life story of this simple product. Combining a compelling story with substantive scholarship, Rivoli shows that both globalization's critics and its cheerleaders have oversimplified the world of international trade.

As Rivoli spoke with businesspeople around the world who played a part in her T-shirt's life, she was forced to confront her own assumptions about the political, economic, and ethical effects of globalization. Trained as a classical economist, Rivoli expected the story of her T-shirt to reveal the undeniable benefits of global free trade and the misguided ideas of the anti-globalization movement. Instead, she found that "free markets" usually aren't free; that even the staunchest allies of free trade regularly benefit from its restriction; and that the alleged "victims" of globalization are often its greatest beneficiaries. While the globalization debate remains centered on the perils versus the promise of competitive economic markets, Rivoli finds that the life story of her T-shirt turns as much on power and politics as it does on markets.

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy uses a simple T-shirt to reveal the politics and the human side of the globalization debate. Within the fabric of every product are fascinating

businesses, good and bad politics, revealing histories, and especially the hopes and dreams of real people. These people's stories—and the story of the T-shirt that ties them together—present the most nuanced look yet at the economics and politics of globalization.

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