Author Topic: Cotton Pickin  (Read 177 times)

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Offline shnozzola

Cotton Pickin
« on: December 02, 2013, 05:11:47 PM »
An economics story all week tracing cotton on a path to a shirt.  Worth a listen.

Quote
Just to give you one preview, when we sent our team of Caitlin Kenney and Zoe Chace to Bangladesh, we really wanted an answer to the question: Is it good or bad for Bangladesh that they make T-shirts there? And the complexity of the answers - I mean, they have the beautiful story of two sisters who really show all the good and all the bad that this transformation of Bangladesh represents. And we saw that story again and again throughout the world, that there's not some simple answer to the question. It was as complex as human beings can be.

A black tractor driver on a satellite controlled cotton picker says he picks more cotton in one round than one of his relatives may have picked their whole life.

http://www.npr.org/2013/12/02/248151300/planet-money-explores-the-economics-of-t-shirts
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
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Offline shnozzola

Re: Cotton Pickin
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 05:59:22 PM »
When I first posted this, I thought - well it is just public radio raising money selling T-shirts, what a waste.  After considering that the federal government (we Americans) don't fund much of NPR anymore, I thought what the heck.

This second installment is from yesterday, talking about cotton subsidies. The sentence above is from this installment.

Quote
SMITH: Bowen is a huge man, 6' 7. And as we wade into the field, the plants only come up to his belt buckle. He's going to send this crop around the world. Just like the Swiss make the best watches, the Germans perfected the sports car, Americans grow the most desired cotton in the world. And just like those watches and cars, American cotton does it by being high-tech.

This is the John Deere 7760; iconic green color, big as a houseboat. Bowen bought five of them last year. And they were not cheap.

FLOWERS: They're right at 600,000 a piece. So we got in a big investment. We got to make something to make the payments on them every year.

SMITH: You bought $3 million worth of equipment last year to pick cotton.

FLOWERS: It's crazy, isn't it? Real crazy. We might need to have our brain examined.

SMITH: But these machines give Bowen an edge over small farmers in the rest of the world. He can pick cotton faster with fewer workers. Bowen can watch the progress of the pickers from his iPad sitting at home. And as cushy as it is for him, the driver up on top of the John Deere has an even sweeter gig.
Transcripts:
http://www.npr.org/2013/12/02/248243399/technology-subsidies-make-us-cotton-king
Listen:
http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=248243399&m=248243407

The second installment will be available at 7:00 est US tonight, about Bangladeshi workers
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline shnozzola

Re: Cotton Pickin
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 09:25:46 PM »
Two Sisters, A Small Room And The World Behind A T-Shirt in Bangladesh

Surprising look at life for garment workers before garment factories, and after.

Quote
When Shumi and Minu were growing up, sometimes there wasn't enough food to eat. They had three younger sisters who all died before they were 7. Now, Shumi and Minu are able to send money home. It isn't much, but it makes a big difference in the village.

"Now, we can eat whatever we want," their mother says. Their parents have built a new house, made of brick, to replace their old, bamboo house. And their younger brother can stay in school.


http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/12/03/247360855/two-sisters-a-small-room-and-the-world-behind-a-t-shirt
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 09:27:36 PM by shnozzola »
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline Jag

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Re: Cotton Pickin
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 10:10:56 PM »
I've caught bits and pieces of this feature this week, but haven't been in the car long enough to hear it all. I have a long-ish drive ahead later this week, so I'll cue this up and listen in the car. My attention has been caught and now I want to follow the whole story.

I really love NPR.
My tolerance for BS is limited, and I use up most of it IRL.

Offline shnozzola

Re: Cotton Pickin
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2013, 08:26:09 PM »
Latest installment:

Quote
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.

The wages in both places are remarkably low by U.S. standards. But the gap between them is huge. Workers in Colombia make more than four times what their counterparts make in Bangladesh. In our reporting, we saw that the workers in Colombia have a much higher standard of living than the workers in Bangladesh.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/12/04/247360787/our-industry-follows-poverty-success-threatens-a-t-shirt-business
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline screwtape

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Re: Cotton Pickin
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 08:53:09 AM »
I heard two of these reports.  They were good, but I find Zoe Chase's accent to be super annoying.
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Offline shnozzola

Re: Cotton Pickin
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 08:44:06 PM »
Today's show - shipping containers - we have discussed before, how the world is quietly dependent on ships at sea.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/12/04/248883212/episode-500-the-humble-innovation-at-the-heart-of-the-global-economy
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline Nam

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Re: Cotton Pickin
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 08:46:21 PM »
I once picked cotton by hand in the mid 1990's. Let me just say...I should've worn gloves.

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A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

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