1. Timmerman gives us the stories of real people around the world who work to make the clothing we wear. How do these stories make you feel? Why is it important to hear the stories of these workers?
2. Would you consider visiting a foreign country to learn more about a world issues that you were concerned about? What barriers might prevent you from traveling internationally?
3. Timmerman meets children who have to beg in the street or dig through trash at the city dump in order to make money for their families. These children would like to work in the sweatshops one day in order to have access to a better life and more money to send to their families. How does this dream differ from dreams of children here in the United States?
4. What do you think about the Anti-Sweatshop Protestors? How effective are those protestors in helping to improve conditions at these manufacturing plants?
5. How do you feel about the American “sweat shop” workers that Timmerman encountered?
6. How are you currently trying to live “glocally” (as a local and global citizen)?
7. After reading the book, what are your feelings about jobs being outsourced to different countries? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this practice?
8. The author discusses that in China, many factory workers were expected to work overtime without being paid or risk losing their jobs. Do you feel that this is an acceptable practice?
9. Timmerman includes himself and his thoughts in the narrative. What do we learn about Timmerman? What kind of person is he? Why do you think he includes his own voice?
10. Timmerman gives us information from a specific point of view. Are there any voices that are missing from the text? If you were going to research clothing labor practices, who would you talk to? Why?
11. This work has elements of autobiography and memoir. What are the benefits/risks of this approach?
12. Which elements of development and economic policy does the author fail to address?
13. What role does political structure play in the development of labor practices?
14. In what ways might our western post-industrial perspective bias our perceptions of these labor practices?
15. What psychological risks might the employees of these companies face
16. Is it morally or ethically acceptable for the author to misrepresent his intentions in order to gain access to the factories?
17. Timmerman seems to question whether child labor in places such as Bangladesh is wrong. Timmerman states, “My own conclusion, after visiting Bangladesh, is that we should not be ashamed that our clothes are made by children, so much as ashamed that we live in a world where child labor is often necessary for survival”. How do you feel about his conclusion?
18. There has been a lot of discussion in the United States about labor practices and the strengths and weaknesses of unions. How did this book make you think about the need (or lack thereof) of labor unions in the United States’ garment industry?
19. What does environmental justice mean to you?
20. Several American Universities have their students sign a “sustainability pledge.” Harvard’s can be found here: http://green.harvard.edu/pledge/students. What are three things that you are going to commit to doing over this school year? Do you think BSU should adapt a pledge like this?
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