Planet Money, the NPR and This American Life podcast and blog channel, has launched “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt”, an interactive documentary exploring the world behind the production of the typical t-shirt. The project, crowd funded by over 20,000 Kickstarter supporters and supported by Jockey, documents the route the Planet Money t-shirt takes. Five online films introduce the people who grow the cotton in the USA, spin the yarn in Indonesia, cut and sew the fabric in Bangladesh and Colombia, and transport the products across the world. The Planet Money t-shirt has a QR code linking to the interactive site, apps.npr.org/tshirt.
The Planet Money t-shirt design features a squirrel hoisting a martini glass, a reference to the phrase “animal spirits” made famous by economist John Maynard Keynes. In the 1930s, Keynes wrote that most of our decisions “can only be taken as the result of animal spirits — a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.” As Planet Money’s own David Kestenbaum put it recently: “Keynes’s idea was that there’s more to the markets than just numbers, there are people and emotions making decisions. And to the extent that we are finding the human element in the very dry subject of economics, it’s actually perfect for us.”
The Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt project was inspired by The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, a book by economist Pietra Rivoli.
The T-Shirt project was developed at NPR by executive producer Alex Blumberg, project adviser Pietra Rivoli, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, managing producers Kainaz Amaria, Brian Boyer and Joshua Davis, Planet Money team Quoctrung Bui, Zoe Chace, Jacob Goldstein, Jess Jiang, Caitlin Kenney, David Kestenbaum, Marianne McCune and Robert Smith, director/photographer Joshua Davis, multimedia producers Kainaz Amaria, Joshua Davis, and Claire O’Neill, photographers and camera team Kainaz Amaria, Nacho Corbella, Joshua Davis, David Gilkey, Eric Helton, James Jensen, Soren Jensen, Katie Hayes Luke and David Nevala, designers and developers Jeremy Bowers, Danny DeBelius, Alyson Hurt and Wes Lindamood (Source code on GitHub), writer Jacob Goldstein, copy editors Janey Adams, Stephanie Federico, Avie Schneider and Susan Vavrick, production team Phia Bennin, Anirvan Ghosh, Frank Hernandez, Seth Maxon, Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez, Molly Messick, Eileen Mignoni, Urmila Ramakrishnan, Tiffany Salone and Alejandra Vengoechea, motion graphics team Suzanne Batmanghelichi and Adam Cole, sound editor Drew Kennedy, t-shirt illustrator Bob Bianchini.
Archival video comes from AP Archive, U.S. Department of Agriculture via archive.org.
“The Journey,” “Goldengrove v2,” “Wallflower” (Keith Kenniff/Unseen Music)
“Fire Ignorance,” “Anthem” (Tyler Strickland)
“Cool Coolada” (Teddy Ouwerkerk/Cream Dream)
“Shade of Music” (Elias Music Library/Getty Music Library)
“B&G’s” (Bela R. Balogh and Gabe Leavitt/3 Leg Torso)
“Stay Golden” (Au Revoir Simone/Moshi Moshi Records)
“Mirrors” (Crocodiles/Fat Possum Records)