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.