Friday, August 06, 2010

A Year Without Made in China by Sara Bongiorni

The last few weeks, I have been researching books to use in my International Trade class this Fall. I wanted to assign my students one fun book to read in addition to the main text that we will be using in class. While browsing through the Trade isle in my local public library I came across this interesting title.  Since I have seen A Day without a Mexican, I thought this might be on similar lines. It was large print and not very big, so I thought I would read it in a few hours and see it was suitable for my class. The first two chapters seemed like they were going to lead up to China bashing. I was not happy that the author did not like WalMart. However, she was at least taking a stance and boycotting it, which was refreshingly different from most WalMart bashers, who eventually end up shopping there anyway. 
In any case, the book is written in a fun conversational way, and is a simple sociological experiment by one family to avoid purchasing things Made in China for a year. Gifts were an exception. In the process, they realise that a lot of the common everyday products that they purchased were Made in China. In many cases there were no substitutes available and when they were available they were either expensive or did not meet the expected standards or both. There were times in the book where the author talks about a complete meltdown and China dominating the world in the future. However, she wraps up the experiment somewhat objectively by noting that globalization is indeed here to stay and helped her get the products she wanted. 
The narrative is clean and easy to read. Its easy to empathize with the author as you read along and that I think is powerful. If you haven't read it, I recommend it highly. I am using this book as additional reading in my class.