lunes, 29 de septiembre de 2008
the journey of a t-shirt in the global economy
A t-shirt is made in a zona franca in the Dominican republic. Following the Calle Triste from my abode of 3 weeks in Santo Domingo, I’d reach one of these free-trade zones within a half mile. When a fabrica (factory) is built, a barrio will quickly spring up around it, a phenomenon contributing to the growth of Santo Domingo from 300,000 to 3 million since the fall of the caudillo Trujillo in 1961. A t-shirt made for $2 in the zona franca is sold for $20 in a mall in the U.S. (don’t quote my numbers), is thoroughly loved for a short time, and then given to Goodwill. Goodwill’s overloaded on donations and can’t sell it, so it’s bundled up and sent back to the Dominican Republic, where you can haggle the clerk to sell it to you for 40 pesos (a little more than a dollar). If the t-shirt is embossed with a witty phrase like I’m a black belt at keeping it real, it’s only amusing if you’re a Peace Corps volunteer. If you’re a Peace Corps volunteer looking for grub clothes for building aguaductos in the campo, this is where you go to shop.