Economist, author Rivoli at UPS Apr. 6

Pietra Rivoli, author of The Travels of a T-shirt in a Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Market, Power, and Politics of World Trade, will discuss her findings, on Thursday, April 6 at 8 p.m. in the Wheelock Student Center Rotunda at the University of Puget Sound.  Her lecture is free and open to the public.

In her book, which was named the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Global Business Book of the Year, Rivoli traces a T-shirt from the cotton farms of Texas, to the textile factories of China, to the used-clothing bazaars of Tanzania.  Along this journey, Rivoli examines the social, political, and economic implications of the industries around the T-shirt, including agricultural subsidies, labor protection, working and living conditions, and economic disenfranchisement of third world countries.  Rivoli concludes that the argument for free trade is a moral case, as well as an economic one.  She maintains that, “we should be debating about the best way for politics to improve globalization, because politics are at least as important as markets in understanding the T-shirt’s life.”

International Political Economy Chair and Professor Michael Veseth agrees.  He states that Rivoli highlights the political implications of the economy so well, that a reader “will never look at a T-shirt in the same light again.”  Veseth became acquainted with Rivoli while writing a chapter about the clothing industry for his latest book, Globaloney. 

Not only will the lecture be illuminating for those interested in international  politics and economics, but also for Puget Sound students seeking to understand global social issues.  According to Veseth, the major strength of Rivoli’s book is that she provides both sides of the free market debate. “But she ultimately allows the reader to decide who is right,” said Veseth.