The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

The Story Behind A Shirt

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The Dish


Planet Money had t-shirts made so they could better understand where such clothing comes from:

The Planet Money men’s T-shirt was made in Bangladesh, by workers who make about $3 a day, with overtime. The Planet Money women’s T-shirt was made in Colombia, by workers who make roughly $13 a day, without overtime… With a long tradition of apparel manufacturing and better technology, the Colombians can make T-shirts much, much faster than the Bangladeshis can. In Bangladesh, on one sewing line for our T-shirt, 32 people can make about 80 shirts per hour. One sewing line in Colombia has eight people and can make about 140 T-shirts per hour. The two lines aren’t perfectly parallel — the Bangladeshi workers are completing a few more details of the shirt than the Colombians are. But the difference is striking nevertheless.

Yet Colombian manufacturers are losing business. Why? Labor costs, mainly:

Colombia’s economy has…

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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