©2005 Pietra Rivoli; (P)2007 Recorded Books,LLC
This is a great introduction to international trade for the layman, and a nice reminder of its intricacies even for an economist like myself. I would recommend it both to those people who have glued themselves with fervent religiosity to the idealization of free trade (as have many economists) and also to those sophomoric protestors who think that products sold at Wal-Mart (and many other places) and made in the Third World are objects produced by slaves without any free will and exploited by their home governments.
The real world is, as always, so much more complicated. And so much more interesting. Rivoli takes the example of t-shirt production, from cotton (in Texas) to fabric manufacture & basic t-shirt assembly (in China) to import & customization (back in the US) to the use of discarded (but still intact) t-shirts from the US (back to the Third World). This illustration, while not a perfect representation of every product and every trade war, does very well in showing the complexities to both extremes I mentioned above, and also lifting the scales from the eyes of people without fervent beliefs, but tending to one side or the other (free trade or exploitation).
The book is well-narrated. And the book is comprehensive, insofar as its vertical following of cotton plants to discarded t-shirts is concerned. I did find the author rambled a bit in sections, annoying, which is the only reason I knocked a star off from the "5." I do think this rambling will make it more enjoyable, less dense, for the lay reader than for the professional though.
No, it seemed like no one really paid attention to editing the narration, and there were many times when you could hear the narrator stop, take a drink and swallow. This may seem minor, but when you are listening to it for eight hours, it becomes distracting and a little gross.
There were no real characters - only people involved in a chain of global trade.
Only if I knew that someone had actually edited out all of the swallowing.
No. I listened to it for a class. It was interesting, but not interesting enough to listen to for eight hours straight.
The story was fascinating, and I think the message in this book is one that we all need to hear as we learn to work within an ever-changing global economy. The author brought up points that I'd never thought about and delivered them in a way the encouraged further exploration and thought. She did a great job of telling the story in a way that showed everyone's point of view, and she came across as non-judgmental and knowledgeable.
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