“Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt” Response

This was a very cool project. I thought that the creators did a good job explaining the process at each stage of production in a way that was understanding. I also really liked how they humanized the people who were involved in the process. I’ve never put much thought into my clothing or where it comes from, and I learned a lot from this project.

I wasn’t sure how to feel after seeing the living conditions of the female workers in Bangladesh and after hearing that the featured woman lived off of $80 per month, most of which was sent back to her family. I initially felt guilty for my desire to consume and buy more and more clothing even though I have more than enough, but then I also considered what life would be like there if the factories didn’t exist. It’s a ethical gray area for me.

This also made me think about the price of clothing. People always want things to be cheaper, but when we pay less for something someone else has to pay the difference. This comes through poorer wages and worse working conditions for the people making our clothes. Is saving a few dollars worth another person working back-breaking hours for little compensation for our behalf? I actually didn’t realize that there is a person sitting a sewing machine stitching every garment, I have always assumed that machines do everything. It’s odd to think about how a person held the clothes I’m wearing. We (at least I) have become so disconnected from the products we buy. Things are made in surplus quantities and they just magically show up on store shelves for us to buy.

Something I noted was the cultural differences in clothing. The women in Bangladesh had such beautiful clothing, the colors were so vibrant and the designs were so elaborate. It was such a contrast to the American clothes they were making. I also thought it was interesting that raw material for the shirts originated in the United States, and eventually returned to the United States as a value-added product, but everything in between happened elsewhere. That must be due to cheaper labor elsewhere in the world.

The videos and supplemental text painted a really interesting picture of something that I might not have taken interest in. The human aspect of the project got me thinking about all the people involved in the garment making process, and about my behaviors as a consumer.

 

 

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