Why are shirts, jeans, and countless other cotton items we use every day so strikingly cheap? What is the secret? The answer is simple. When Paul Timbi Kobassare, a farmer in Burkina Faso, divides the income he gets from cultivating cotton by the number of days in a year, it comes to a bit more than one dollar per day. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, Anowara's workday in the garment industry is at least 10 hours long. In a month, she earns $89.