Globalization makes it difficult to know where the things you buy come from. Journalist and travel writer Kelsey Timmerman wanted to know where his clothes came from and who made them, so he traveled from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back. Along the way, he met the people who made his favorite clothes and learned as much about them as he did about globalization itself. Enlightening and controversial at once, this book puts a human face on globalization.
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Ninety-seven percent of our clothes are made overseas. Yet globalization makes it difficult to know much about the origin of the products we buy—beyond the standard "Made in" label. So journalist and blogger Kelsey Timmerman decided to visit each of the countries and factories where his five favorite items of clothing were made and meet the workers. He knew the basics of globalized labor—the forces, processes, economics, and politics at work. But what was lost among all those facts and numbers was an understanding of the lives, personalities, hopes, and dreams of the people who made his clothes.
In Bangladesh, he went undercover as an under-wear buyer, witnessed the child labor industry in action, and spent the day with a single mother who was forced to send her eldest son to Saudi Arabia to help support her family. In Cambodia, he learned the difference between those who wear Levi's and those who make them. In China, he saw the costs of globalization and the dark side of the Chinese economic miracle.
Bouncing between two very different worlds—that of impoverished garment workers and his own Western lifestyle—Timmerman puts a personal face on the controversial issues of globalization and outsourcing. Whether bowling with workers in Cambodia or riding a roller coaster with laborers in Bangladesh, he bridges the gap between impersonal economic forces and the people most directly affected by them. For anyone who wants to truly understand the real issues and the human costs of globalization, Where Am I Wearing? is an indispensable and unforgettable journey.From the Back Cover:
From the Preface:
I was made in America. My "Jingle These" Christmas boxers were MADE IN BANGLADESH.
I had an all-American childhood in rural Ohio. My all-American blue jeans were MADE IN CAMBODIA.
I wore flip-flops every day for a year when I worked as a SCUBA diving instructor in Key West. They were MADE IN CHINA.
One day while staring at a pile of clothes on the floor, I noticed the tag of my favorite T-shirt: MADE IN HONDURAS.
I read the tag. My mind wandered.
A quest was born.
"Timmerman is a fun tour guide, rather than a stern moralizer. His quest to find community around the world is an inspiration to anyone beginning to ask what's been lost in the new global economy."
—John Bowe, author of Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy
"It's one thing to talk about our disastrous trade policy.It's quite another to live with the consequences. Kelsey Timmerman takes us to sweatshops and shantytowns to meet the people—mostly very young and grossly underpaid—who make our clothes. Every Washington policymaker should come down from their ivory towers and read Where Am I Wearing?"
—U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
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