T-Shirt Travels

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T-shirt Travels

The film ‘T-shirt Travels’ takes us to the Sub-Saharan African nation of Zambia, a country who in the 1960’s was know for having a thriving, domestic textile industry. As of late, with the countries immense amount of debt and the constant nagging of their creditors, such as the IMF, Zambia’s local economy has deteriorated and the textile industry has vanished. However, there is another issue present that has also contributed to the decline of Zambia’s economy: the second-hand clothing industry. All three of these factors; immense debt, hassling creditors, and the second-hand clothing industry, as seen in the film, are contributing to the crash of a once thriving Zambian economy.

Zambia was first noticed by Europeans because it had a vibrant copper industry and a well-off economy. The European powers that controlled Zambia used it for its copper revenue and upon gaining its independence it was thought that Zambia would survive in the changing world. Unfortunately for Zambia, this was not the case. As oil prices started to rise at an exponential rate, the price of copper started to decline in the same way. Zambia wasn’t making enough money from the copper they were producing and they were spending too much on fuel to help mine the copper. As a last resort to help get them out of debt, the Zambian government turned to a Neoliberalist institution known as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Being told that copper prices would eventually rise, the Zambian government borrowed money from the IMF to pay off their debt. When the stubborn copper prices refused to rise Zambia was forced to continue to borrow money and thereby put them more and more into debt. This event was the catalyst that ignited the fall of Zambia’s economy forever.

Zambia was so deep in debt that all economic activity was at a stand still. The Zambian government was struggling to come up with enough money to set up services in their country such as education...
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