Washington, D.C. - Inspired by campus discussions about the effects of globalization and corporate competition, Georgetown University Associate Professor Pietra Rivoli embarked on a journey to investigate the truth about world trade and global economics.
In her new book, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power and Politics of World Trade, Rivoli chronicles the journey of a simple, everyday T-shirt to explore the business, economic, moral and political complexities of globalization in a historical context.
Over a five-year period, she traveled from the sun-baked cotton fields of Lubbock, Texas to cotton yarn and garment factories in China, and from trade negotiations in Washington to a used clothing market in Africa, to investigate firsthand compelling questions and issues of global economics. Looking closely at the lives of Texas cotton growers, Chinese textile producers and other colorful characters, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy demonstrates the impact of markets and politics on both rich and poor countries.
Rivoli combines an engaging story with substantive scholarship to uncover a number of surprising conclusions about international trade, and she shows that both free traders and trade skeptics have vastly oversimplified the world of globalization. Her five years of research have culminated in a rich understanding of the complex global political and economic forces that determine who wins and who loses - and why - in the competitive global marketplace.
"So what do I say to the young woman on the steps at Georgetown University who was so concerned about the evils of the race to the bottom, so concerned about where and how her t-shirt was produced?," Rivoli writes. "I would tell her to appreciate what markets and trade have accomplished for all of the sisters in time who have been liberated by life in a sweatshop, and that she should be careful about dooming anyone to life on the farm. I would tell her that the poor suffer more from exclusion from politics than from the perils of the markets...And I would tell her about the shoulders she stands on...the noble family tree of activists and the difference they have made in a day's work all over the world. I would tell her that in just five short years, I have seen the difference her own generation has made. I would tell her to look both ways, but to march on."
Pietra Rivoli is an associate professor in the Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where she has served on the faculty since 1983. She specializes in international business, finance, and social issues in business, and she teaches at the undergraduate, MBA, and executive levels. Rivoli is on the university’s Licensing Oversight Committee, which oversees workplace issues for Georgetown apparel producers, the Committee for Social Responsibility in Investing, and the Vital Voices Partnership, a university initiative in executive education for women from developing countries.
Rivoli has spoken at the Academy of International Business and the Society for Business Ethics, and her work has been published in the Journal of International Business, the Journal of Business Ethics and Business Ethics Quarterly. In addition, she has extensive contacts in China, and leads Georgetown’s MBA Global residencies to Asia.
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power and Politics of World Trade. Pietra Rivoli. $29.95. ISBN: 0-471-64849-3, Cloth. Published by Wiley, April 2005.
About Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business
Offering unparalleled access to the world’s business, policy and thought leaders, Georgetown University’s Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business is seated at one of the nation’s most prestigious universities in one of the world’s most dynamic and important cities. The school is committed to developing leaders capable of making complex business decisions in a global environment and who are dedicated to serving their companies, society and humanity. The McDonough School’s undergraduate, MBA, executive education and International Executive MBA programs provide solid grounding in all the core management disciplines, with an emphasis on the global, ethical and political environment of business. For more information about the McDonough School, visit www.msb.georgetown.edu.
About Georgetown University
Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses. For more information about Georgetown University, visit www.georgetown.edu.