How often did you read the label of a T-shirt before making your purchase? I confessed (most times) of reaching for the price tag instead of the label. Indeed, each label tells a story; a story about human perseverance, life struggle and hope (as shown in the video, the first link below). Most consumers don’t know or care about how their T-shirts were made and how many lives they touched starting from the cotton farmer in Mississippi to the workers in Bangladesh (or elsewhere globally) and finally, at the hands of the consumers. I think there is nothing better than the making of T-shirt to illustrate the concept of “globalization” 1 that often discussed for all the negatives and positives.
A few years ago, the Planet Money team set out on making its own T-shirt; the project was funded through Kickstarter. Follow the team on the journey that took them from the US, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Colombia; click the links below to watch or listen (both are from the Planet Money team):
http://apps.npr.org/tshirt/#/title (series of video)
http://www.npr.org/series/248799434/planet-moneys-t-shirt-project (series of podcast episodes)
Questions for discussion:
- What was your perception of “globalization” before reading this discussion? Elaborate your answer.
- One criticism of globalization is the exploitation of workers; one example might be unsafe working conditions. We also watched (from the video) how some of the garment workers’ lives were “improved” (both in Bangladesh and Colombia). In Jasmine’s case, improvement meant she could send money to help her family. Do you think that globalization (overall) has positively or negatively impacted developing nations? Please explain your answer and provide outside sources to support your claims.