Tipping Point

Topics: Globalization, International trade, World Trade Organization Pages: 14 (4981 words) Published: April 12, 2013
Essay Synthesizing Readings; The Undercover Economist, The Tipping Point, and Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy
After reading the books; “The Undercover Economist”, “The Tipping Point”, and “Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy” I am left thinking that the Global economy is actually more complicated and intricate than I ever thought and there is an interesting aspect of the world economy that is social. From the popularity of Hush Puppies in New York detailed in “Tipping Point” to the social networks of African used-clothing entrepreneurs discussed in the “Travels of a T-Shirt” or renters in London in “Undercover Economist” people all over the world are social beings and the World Economy is the result of these people’s everyday choices, desires and needs. I really enjoyed reading all three of these books and there are some central ideas within them that were meaningful to me as a businessman and can help me going forward to combine to help me form a new framework to run my current business and I will discuss of few of these in this essay.

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. Review:

"During a 1999 protest of the World Trade Organization, Rivoli, an economics professor at Georgetown, looked on as an activist seized the microphone and demanded, 'Who made your T-shirt?' Rivoli determined to find out. She interviewed cotton farmers in Texas, factory workers in China, labor champions in the American South and used-clothing vendors in Tanzania. Problems, Rivoli concludes, arise not with the market, but with the suppression of the market. Subsidized farmers, and manufacturers and importers with tax breaks, she argues, succeed because they avoid the risks and competition of unprotected global trade, which in turn forces poorer countries to lower their prices to below subsistence levels in order to compete. Rivoli seems surprised by her own conclusions, and while some chapters lapse into academic prose and tedious descriptions of bureaucratic maneuvering, her writing is at its best when it considers the social dimensions of a global economy, as in chapters on the...
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