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Forget the world, it’s Barbie’s rear end that is truly flat. The LAT traces progress by tracking the MADE IN _______ sticker on Barbie’s tushie.

While feminists have long vilified Mattel’s iconic creation as a destructive role model for girls — because of her anatomically incorrect dimensions — I believe Barbie is a useful tool to teach kids about how the global economy penetrates into every aspect of our everyday lives. Want to talk about how dependent we are on the labor of foreign hands? Just pick up a Barbie. Want to know where Mommy’s and/or Daddy’s job disappeared to? Chances are it migrated to the same country welcoming a new Barbie factory.
How times have changed. My mother never imagined that her Third World country would ever pose an economic threat to the U.S. “I used to envy American workers; the dollar was worth so much,” she said. Who knew that, 40 years later, cheap labor would be energizing China’s booming economy, and the U.S. would be struggling under a huge budget deficit and a weak dollar?
Who knows which country will appear next on Barbie’s butt? Would it be irony to find it saying “Made in USA”?

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