Saturday, November 5, 2011

Countries in my closet

I spent some time looking at the tags of all shirt, T-shirts, sweaters and pants in my closet and recorded the country in which they were made and then generated the graph below using Microsoft Excel. It was an interesting exercise which I recommend trying. If you have children, it’s a fun educational activity to include them in. It will spur some interesting conversations.

What does this graph tell us?

Probably that I have too many clothes in my closet.

The next thing that comes to mind is that I bought all these clothes in the United States, yet only about 10% of them were manufactured in this country. That means that it is cheaper for American companies to have the product manufactured abroad and then shipped over here, rather than making it in the US.

Factory workers in developing countries, like Honduras, Bangladesh and Thailand are paid only a few dollars a day. This makes our goods cheaper, but it does not improve the financial situation of these workers, nor does it help US factories which cannot compete with developing countries waves.

My quick research on clothing labels also helps us to understand how connected our economy is with that with that of Asian and Central American countries, most of which are considered developing nations. These countries have a high percentage of people living under the poverty level, a poor infrastructure and might be governed by unstable or unfriendly governments. So, when any of them faces a natural disaster or political crisis, our economy and that of many other nations can be affected as well.

Geography affects our everyday lives in more ways that we realize.

How did Geography affect your life today?

Do you remember a situation in which Geography significantly affected your life? I will share a few of mine in a future post.

P.S. Two of the names shown on the graph above are not, officially, independent countries.


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