Trade

Episode 458: Bangladesh's T-Shirt Economy

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16 min 48 sec
 
Garment workers sew T-shirts at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2009.

hide captionGarment workers sew T-shirts at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2009.

AFP/Getty Images

H&M, Zara, Wal-Mart and JC Penney all buy t-shirts from Bangladesh. Soon, Planet Money will too.

As you may have heard, we're making a t-shirt and telling the story of how it's made. We decided a few months ago to work with Jockey to make our t-shirts. Our women's shirt will be made in Colombia. Our men's shirt will be made, in part, in Bangladesh.

But horrifying news has been coming out of Bangladesh's apparel industry recently. A garment factory collapsed a few weeks ago, killing more than 1,000 people. Last year, a factory fire killed hundreds of workers.

As part of the t-shirt project, we'll be traveling to Bangladesh to report on the industry. On today's show, we start to ask: Is buying a t-shirt from Bangladesh a good thing or a bad thing for the people of Bangladesh?

For more: See Adam Davidson's latest New York Times Magazine column, Economic Recovery, Made in Bangladesh?

Read Vijaya Ramachandran's paper: Does Poor Mean Cheap? A Comparative Look at Africa's Industrial Labor Costs.

Music: Air Traffic Controller's "You Know Me." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.

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