Saturday, 8 January 2011

Reasons to Buy Fairtrade

I realise I'm probably preaching to the converted by posting this here, but I've just come across the book "50 Reasons to Buy Fairtrade", and I'd like to share, one reason at a time.
Reason 1. Back a system that benefits the poor. The mainstream trading system is failing the poor. Fairtrade offers partnership in place of exploitation.
The poorest countries do not benefit from 'free' trade - while Western nations are making huge profits, African nations have a shrinking economy, at about 0.8% a year, even though many valuable raw materials come out of Africa.
Millions of small scale farmers have been driven to bankrupcy as a result of subsidised food from the West being 'dumped' in their countries, undercutting their prices.
Throughout the developing world people are working in poor countries for less than a dollar a day to make goods such as clothes and toys for the Western world. Often these goods carry prestigious brand names and sell for high prices. But wages for the people who make them are rock bottom and working conditions are often appalling.
Fair trade gives the poor who actually make the products a better deal.


  1. Hi,

    I understand the points, but I would argue that most of them are not correct (or maybe correct but not explained correctly in your summary):

    1) Free trade is definitly not failing the poor. It has has helped millions of not billions(!) of people to become richer - almost all of them in developing countries. However I think fair trade is good, because it helps the poor even more. But saying that free trade has harmed them would wrong.

    2) African economies are not shrinking. of the top 10 countries in the world with the highest growth during 2001-2010 6 are in afrika (se here ).

    3) Food dumping from the rich countries is really bad, for everyone. But this is not because of free trade - it is actually because there is not enough free trade! would WTO and other international orders have more power, then food subsidising would be forbidden - and tehe world would be alot more equal.

    Just my reflections. I follow this field quite much, and run a blong (in swedish thou - at ). Fair trade is good - but it is important to know why, and not have it disstorted - otherwise good policy changes are kept from happening, just because they are seen as bad.


  2. Thank you - it's good to know that people are reading this blog, and from as far away as Sweden.
    The figures I used were copied from the book, which was published in 2007 - other comments were my own, and I'm learning as I go.