Thursday, June 09, 2005

fair trade v free trade

...My mother came to visit last weekend and as ever we were talking about ethical issues. Sometimes I think we compete to see who's most ethical - she usually wins as she's better at not shopping than me. I occassionally win on the boycott stakes...

Anyhoo - I opened some English wine for dinner (no air miles, 15 nil to The Chirp) when Mum told me that she'd had some really bad Fair Trade wine. Now I haven't tried Fair Trade wine - but I'm a huge fan of Fair Trade. I'm not a great economist - I can barely spell it, frankly. But Mum said she'd been told - by a Cambridge economics graduate - that Fair Trade wasn't the answer. In fact this person actively boycotts Fair Trade.

I've had a potter about the interwebbie to find other articles to back or challenge that view. Beev made an excellent point back in February, and he links to an opposing article. I've had a wander about the interwebbie to try to find a range of articles on the topic with no real luck - George Monbiot is interesting as ever.

I really don't know whether or not Fair Trade will solve all the economic problems there are in the world. I suspect that that's more down to the Big Cheeses. But if you're going to buy a banana, or some coffee, or an avocado anyway isn't it better to buy Fair Trade? Person to person - someone has had a fair price and good conditions, and I get to win. Is that an example of thinking globally and acting locally? What do you all think?
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