This review is from @orphanani:
My boyfriend asked me if this book had an overarching theme or if it was just a series of essays linked together by the t-shirt. I would say that the overarching theme of this book is markets – how they work, when and why they fail, and how other factors come into play. Sometimes these factors help make markets better – such as the regulations on child labor practices or pollution. Sometimes, however, they are obstructions, like government trade regulations.
That probably explains why I found this book interesting. There is a lot of history explained throughout the novel, but I’m not usually much of a history buff. However, when you intersperse that with an explanation of market failures and evolutions, then I’m all ears.
I told Molls as I was reading that while I enjoyed this book, I didn’t have a lot of commentary about it. That’s still true. I generally buy into the arguments that the author makes and appreciate that they’re backed up with both anecdotal and empirical evidence. At times I was fascinated by the genetics of cotton manufacturing. (I probably found this section more interesting than Molls since I recently considered a move to Lubbock, TX.) At other times while reading, I felt a seething sense of rage mingled with despair at the demonstration of the inanity of our nation’s legal and political system. The author does a good job describing ridiculous laws regulating “free trade” between countries that bow to special interests and make it more difficult to do business instead of less.
I think this book is interesting for anyone who has, or wants to have, opinions on international trade. In researching the book, it’s clear that the author’s opinions have evolved, and I think it’s possible that the reader’s will, too.
I first heard of this book on Planet Money, after they did a t-shirt series of their own. The book follows professor Pietra Rivoli as she tries to find the origins of a t-shirt she purchased in Florida. She traces the shirt through Texas cotton, Chinese factories, US customs and the secondhand clothing market in Africa.
There are some very fascinating sections of the book. Chinese factory conditions have spent a lot of time in the US news lately, between FoxConn and the This American Life episode. In light of this, Rivoli’s discussion of factory conditions is especially interesting, in particular how happy the workers are to be there, rather than working on a farm. Further Rivoli is able to make exceptionally boring and convoluted trade agreements be both intelligible and interesting.
Unfortunately, the book is a bit dry, especially in the middle. For example, she spends three chapters on the cotton industry in the US. For an academic, this is probably fascinating work. For me, as just an average consumer, it was dull.
Overall, however, the book is interesting, informative and a good read. What are your thoughts?
“Common sense is not so common.” -Voltaire
For someone who has neveronce attended a skeptic conference, I’m really infuriated by the attitudes and behavior of some of the attendees. I think this sums up my opinion towards the whole TAM-sexual-harassment-policy discussion.
Here’s a summary of the discussion, if you’re interested. If you’re not, just keep reading because I start yelling at people.
This has gone way beyond a discussion of the validity of harassment policies and into some completely insane debate over bar behavior.
From Thunderf00t’s original post:
“But like I say, IT’S A BAR!! and those are the rules of engagement in bars, as the old saying goes, if you are gonna eat tuna, you gotta expect some bones!”
Could someone point me to the universal rules of bar engagement?
I’ve been to bars with a dress code and bars where people dressed are out of place. I’ve been to bars with extensive wine lists and those with extensive beer lists. I’ve been to bars with no seats and ones where standing was prohibited. I’ve been to bars that only accept cash and only accept credit.
From a comment on the PZ Myer’s post:
No, asshole, the onus is on you to not be an asshole. I realize this might be shocking but you, as a man, do not have any right to hit on me, as a woman. This isn’t covered by the Bill of Rights or The Universal Declaration of Human Rights because it isn’t a fucking right. Period. End of discussion. It doesn’t matter where I am or where you are or what I am wearing or how much I’ve had to drink or how attractive you think I am or how attractive you think you are or how badly you want to get laid.
People go to bars for all sorts of reason. I go to bars to watch sports. I go to bars to try different beers. I got to bars to get piss drunk because I’ve had a shitty day. I go to bars to get piss drunk because I’ve had a great day. I go to bars because I work from home and I’m tired of staring at the same four walls. I go to bars to write because I enjoy the white noise. I go to bars because I want a fucking glass of wine and the goddamn grocery store is closed.
If you’re under the impression that simply because a person is in an establishment that serves alcohol, they are interested in some hanky panky, stop. Because you are both wrong and an asshole.
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