When Joe Bennett bought a six-pack of underwear in his local supermarket for five dollars, he wondered who on earth could be making any money, let alone profit, from the exchange.
How many processes and middlemen are involved? Where and how is the underwear made? And who decides on the absorbent qualities of the gusset?
Joe embarks on an odyssey to the new factory of the world, China, to trace his underwear back to their source. Along the way he discovers the extraordinarily balanced and intricate web of contacts and exchanges that makes global trade possible-and is rapidly elevating China to the status of world economic superpower.
He also grapples with chopsticks, challenges his own prejudices, and marvels at the contrasts in one of the world’s oldest but fastest changing societies.
Funny, wise, and insightful, “Where Underpants Come From” is a wonderful and timely picture of the developed world’s dependence on China to make all the bits and pieces of our lives-everything from toothbrushes to overhead projectors and artificial kidneys.
Photo by Simon & Schuster.