Thursday, August 25, 2005

T-shirts economics

Here's a good book to sink your teeth into. Published in 2005, "The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy" is an unlikely sounding text on International Economics, but that's what it is, and more. Its about international trade, politics, history and even travel, weaved around the theme of the economics involved in the global textile and apparel trade over three hundred years!

In developing the narrative, the author, Dr Pietra Rivoli of the Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, first traces the beginnings and development of the cotton industry in the US and England. In particular, she englightens us on the reasons for the longevity of the cotton industry in the US and how, even today, the industry that grew from this basic commodity - apparel and textile - still has a strong, albeit wanning, presence in the US. In weaving together a masterful account of the history, politics and economics related to this essential industry, Dr Rivoli has managed to entertain with wry observations and personal anecdotes garnered from her travels to research and write this book.

My favourite part of the book is where she describes how technology, research and development has extended the dominance of the cotton industry in the US through 200 years. Now, one would expect that a country or any organisation would lose its competitive advantage in a product, service or skill after two or at most, three generations, but for 200 years? Amazing!

Written in non-intimidating language with little trade jargon, its an easy read. Yet its full of insight spanning a whole gamut of topics and disciplines. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

You have to read it too.

Its available at for about US$19. The price will vary depending on whether you are getting first-hand or not. But then again, this book is quite recent.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blogging crap

Blogging is writing about yourself, your experiences, your life. Some have adapted blogging to venture on writing on highly specific areas and have thus created wonderful resources on blogs. But I must say that I agree with one commentor to this blog that a lot of the blogs you find in (and perhaps most other purpose-built blogging portal) is just crap.

Some, after securing a good blogger address, write nothing worthy of that address. For example, see (sorry Mr Bray). Some write garbage, and worse, repeat that garbage over several days' blogs - and they write nothing else. Its the worst form of bad writing - 'spamming' their own blogs.

I ask, "Why bother in the first place?" You can't invite people to view your blog because you'd die of embarrassment, you can't publicise your blog because you'd be viewed as vacuous, you can't even make a cent out of it because Google Adsense has more sense than to let you have their codes.

So why do people do it? I really cannot figure it out. I can only guess.

Maybe having a blog, whatever that blog has or does, is not important. The satisfaction lies in the fact that you have a blog address.

Maybe other priorities in life have distracted you from your blogging ambitions.

Maybe you are suffering from writers' block, and its been blocked for the last 3 years!

Maybe you are just not interested anymore, but don't want to delete your blog, or cannot be bothered to, or don't know how to(?)

Maybe one day, the blogger may resume the activity. I don't begrudge such ambitions, but either start writing something or release those blog addresses!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Purpose of this blog

My tastes in the written word are rather eclectic as much as my interests are wide. I have always loved reading - anything that I can lay my hands on. But you get selective over time, because you know that you cannot possibly read everything that has ever been written and printed.

Of late, my interests are in technology, management, information systems, e-business/e-commerce development economics, history, some politics, Christian literature, retail management, etc. Some of these areas interest me because they contribute to my rice-bowl (i.e. my professional interests), others because I have had an abiding interest in them - something of a hobby that helps me de-stress and know something more about the world that we live in at the same time.

Whichever the case, I read a lot. Because I have access to very current books and writings, I thought I might share my views about them in this blog. Of course, older books are just as important, but I suspect much has already been written about them anyway. Another reason for this blog is personal - often, I have forgotten what I have read over the years. Since I spend a lot of time reading, its a big part of my life that is missing in my memory. When you get older, you become more concerned about remembering. Nostalgia increasingly becomes an important part of life.