(un)Fair Trade Certified

What exactly does it mean for our coffees to be ‘Fair Trade Certified’? Matt Motta ’13 explains the real meaning behind the label.

Tricks of the “Fair” Trade: How the Private Sector Has Turned Good Will into Profit

Most Wesleyan students would be reluctant to turn away a cup of Fair Trade Coffee at Pi Cafe.  Sure, a great number of us go out of our way to recycle, look out for the greater community through joining facebook groups donations of service, and read articles in the New York Times about corruption on Wall Street. But how often do we take time out of the day to question where our food comes from?  The answer, unfortunately, is not nearly as satisfying as the proverbial ‘pat on the back’ that seemingly goes hand-in-hand with the consumption of Fair Trade Coffee.

The Fair Trade logo is nothing more than a symbol of corporate greed; as the ‘Golden Arch’ is to imperialism, the MACK imprint is to environmental degradation, and the dollar sign is to corporate greed, the Fair Trade logo is… well, all of the above!  Fair Trade, on the surface, sounds like a socially responsible practice – what, after all, could possibly be wrong with applying free market concepts to food imports?  (Aside from some minor mishaps surrounding subprime mortgages, pyramid schemes, and economic recession, it’s not surprising that consumers are still willing to trust the free market).  A deeper look into the industry, however, hints that businesses are willing to subject both consumers and international producers to corrupt logistical burdens, imperialistic permeation of market economics, environmental decay, and economic recession – all under the guise of charity.

Corporate Corruption and the Spread of Imperialism

One major flaw with the Free Trade logo is the corrupt nature of its logistics.  The logo itself is slapped on products by the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO).  The FLO ensures that associated products are sold at market price, and often entails that local producers receive monetary kickbacks from local collection funds in individual communities.  The organization, however, pays no mind to the process by which products actually arrive on their desks for approval; their negligence, in fact, allows for corporate corruption to harm international producers.

The most obvious instance of logistical corruption, therefore, can be traced to large corporations overseas.  In order to submit a product to the FLO for Fair Trade approval, the corporation must pay a fixed market price for a given product (in hopes of covering production costs).  This practice not only fails to guarantee producers with an economic profit, but also opens up a number of loopholes for corporations to abuse smaller markets.

Consider, for example, the certification of farms in the perishable food industry.  Large corporations are eager to put the Fair Trade logo on their products but not at an economic loss.  Contrary to the spirit of Fair Trade, corporations will seek to buy only from a region’s most robust producers by placing licensing fees and accreditation standards on trade.  Only the already robust producers that meet the company’s accreditation standards and can afford to pay an extra fee (which, in it of itself, defeats the purpose of market intervention in a poor region) are rewarded with a business transaction that may do nothing more than cover production costs.

Of course, many corporations that perform these transactions, all in the name of obtaining a Fair Trade label, are from the United States. Their corruption is rewarded with consumption by American consumers on a daily basis.  Despite the fact that such practices would likely be downright illegal if transacted between firms in the US, there is a second issue that stems from corporate corruption: the spread of imperialism.  In other words, our market based solutions are not only corrupt, but may not even be welcomed in certain communities. Merling Preza, general manager of an independent coffee farmers’ co-op in Nicaragua commented:

“I don’t want to criticize [Nestle] but there are other elements more profound in our fair trade system than in the existing system. For example, the social programs and services to our communities, investment in farmers, democracy. This is all important to tackle poverty, but it is expensive.”

Forcing our way of living, in the United States, down the throats of other communities (with the hope of making a quick buck) is not a novel idea.  Though free market failures have taken away some potency from the phrase “laughing all the way to the bank,” it may be time to consider putting an end to the exploitation of workers around the globe.

Environmental Concerns

Have you ever thrown a cup of Pi Café’s Fair Trade coffee in a recycle bin?  As a Wesleyan student, the answer is likely ‘yes.’ Fair Trade, however, actually poses a number of environmental concerns.  Even though small international producers may not be rewarded by large corporations for their work, Fair Trade’s incentive is ecological homogeneity; in other words, ecologically diverse land is sacrificed for farming, even if the farmer’s hard work is not met with monetary reward.

Even worse, the practice condones importing foreign products instead of growing domestically.  Instead of allowing markets to develop independently in given communities, large corporations exploit international producers and their land in order to import goods.  Encouraging farming in ecologically diverse regions, as well as adding to the planet’s climate concerns by transporting goods across the globe on a regular basis, seems to be a lose-lose situation for everyone… excluding, perhaps, a few CEO’s.

Economic Inefficiencies

The final issue attached to Fair Trade is its ability to encourage market inefficiency.  That’s right – the logo that prides itself on introducing market economics to developing firms across the world not only exploits producers, but even encourages market failures at times!

Small international producers, thanks to Fair Trade, have to meet the demands of a global market.  Corporations who compensate international producers with above-market prices for goods, therefore, artificially raise the price consumers have to pay (who, predictably, buy less).  As pointed out in an article by The Economist in 2006 (yes – even a fiscally conservative magazine finds issues with Fair Trade) the act of artificially raising prices allows corporations to meet a smaller demand.  This causes overproduction within the small firms who act as suppliers and therefore creates market inefficiency.

Conclusion

The phrase “Wall Street vs. Main Street,” has become a part of every American’s vocabulary during the recent domestic economic meltdown.  The Fair Trade industry, however, begs us to consider those who live on neither Wall Street nor Main Street: those whose roads are paved with dirt, or simply don’t exist.  While Fair Trade may be a perfect money-making scam for soulless corporations (and, as the previously mentioned article from The Economist suggested, perhaps even mindless) its costs to society are much higher than the private benefits enjoyed by exploiters.

If the old adage, “no good deed goes unpunished,” is correct, it may be time to start cracking down on the Fair Trade industry.

—————————-

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/16/business/16online.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

http://www.newint.org/features/2006/11/01/fairtrade/

Further Reading (A good introduction to Fair Trade policies) :

http://www.organicconsumers.org/starbucks/debate111903.cfm

16 thoughts on “(un)Fair Trade Certified

  1. Christina

    In my opinion, Fair Trade has been, for a long time, Western culture’s easy way out of taking the time to make difficult moral decisions and live by them. In the case of coffee, it’s easy to not sacrifice a destructive convenience when one can justify it with the “Fair Trade” label. It’s unfortunate that reject 4chan trolls (Anons) and the like believe that not participating in the absolute worst aspect of something is considered moral living. If one truly cares about the production, transportation, environmental, and labor issues that surround the food that they eat, they should make greater steps toward eating locally produced foods. Simply buying into the “Fair Trade” label because of its presumed benefits, then claiming to have made an ethical choice is hypocrisy. In any case, this article is beautiful. That Matt Motta should run for office or something.

  2. Christina

    In my opinion, Fair Trade has been, for a long time, Western culture’s easy way out of taking the time to make difficult moral decisions and live by them. In the case of coffee, it’s easy to not sacrifice a destructive convenience when one can justify it with the “Fair Trade” label. It’s unfortunate that reject 4chan trolls (Anons) and the like believe that not participating in the absolute worst aspect of something is considered moral living. If one truly cares about the production, transportation, environmental, and labor issues that surround the food that they eat, they should make greater steps toward eating locally produced foods. Simply buying into the “Fair Trade” label because of its presumed benefits, then claiming to have made an ethical choice is hypocrisy. In any case, this article is beautiful. That Matt Motta should run for office or something.

  3. Alex Bernson

    @Matt

    The reason your article is a flimsy piece of ideological demagoguery is that you make no case for how any of your points come from the “Fair Trade” certification system. You confuse the certification label with a whole system of international trade.

    Fair Trade as a label is very simple and limited in scope. Speaking about coffee since that is the market I know best, Fair Trade requires a premium price be paid to farmers (currently ~$0.15/lb over the C market price I believe). Beyond that, it has certain restrictions on loan providing and structuring from exporters/importers, the organization of cooperatives and large fincas, things like that. It is a specifically delimited certification that is designed to address a very small number of problems within the current commodity exchange model.

    All of your criticisms seem directed more at “Free Trade”. For example, the entire “Environmental Concern” part is asinine concern trolling. Fair Trade does none of the things you say it does there; all of those things are caused by international commodity trade in general, not the limited impact of the fair trade cert. I know coffee farmers who have been able to use the FT premium on their coffees to interplant shade trees and food crops in their coffee fields for example. Also, FT sets aside a certain (small) percentage of funds specifically for community improvement, such as the desired “social programs and services to our community” from your farmer quote. To be sure it’s not enough, but once again that’s a problem with our unequal trade system generally, not FT.

    I’d go through every point of your argument, but you quite clearly did not make an effort to justify your assertions, blanket statements and deliberate obfuscations. You have a beef with international commodity trade. That’s fine, but cloaking it in an attack on Fair Trade undermines your point and your cause. Quite simply, this sort of article is why people don’t take “activists” seriously, especially people in the industries you are attempting to criticize and most need to change. You look foolish and no one with any power to change anything would listen to you, and your combative tone and meandering logic mean that even consumers won’t heed your misguided rallying cry.

    What Fair Trade boils down to is exactly what J said “increasing awareness about the plights of the people at the bottom end of the supply chain and thereby increasing support for fair trade prices and work conditions”. Fair Trade doesn’t even come close to fixing the issues in the system. What it does do is getting complacent americans to start thinking about the entire supply chain behind the products they consume. You can’t make any more substantive positive changes (such as Direct Trade which J highlights) if there isn’t a base awareness of the system. FT is one small step towards convincing consumers to value social justice, quality, seasonality and sustainable production.

    I’d be happy to talk to you or anyone else more about this, online or in person. I really firmly believe in the necessity of improving the current system through realistic, immediately and sustainably effective means.

  4. Alex Bernson

    @Matt

    The reason your article is a flimsy piece of ideological demagoguery is that you make no case for how any of your points come from the “Fair Trade” certification system. You confuse the certification label with a whole system of international trade.

    Fair Trade as a label is very simple and limited in scope. Speaking about coffee since that is the market I know best, Fair Trade requires a premium price be paid to farmers (currently ~$0.15/lb over the C market price I believe). Beyond that, it has certain restrictions on loan providing and structuring from exporters/importers, the organization of cooperatives and large fincas, things like that. It is a specifically delimited certification that is designed to address a very small number of problems within the current commodity exchange model.

    All of your criticisms seem directed more at “Free Trade”. For example, the entire “Environmental Concern” part is asinine concern trolling. Fair Trade does none of the things you say it does there; all of those things are caused by international commodity trade in general, not the limited impact of the fair trade cert. I know coffee farmers who have been able to use the FT premium on their coffees to interplant shade trees and food crops in their coffee fields for example. Also, FT sets aside a certain (small) percentage of funds specifically for community improvement, such as the desired “social programs and services to our community” from your farmer quote. To be sure it’s not enough, but once again that’s a problem with our unequal trade system generally, not FT.

    I’d go through every point of your argument, but you quite clearly did not make an effort to justify your assertions, blanket statements and deliberate obfuscations. You have a beef with international commodity trade. That’s fine, but cloaking it in an attack on Fair Trade undermines your point and your cause. Quite simply, this sort of article is why people don’t take “activists” seriously, especially people in the industries you are attempting to criticize and most need to change. You look foolish and no one with any power to change anything would listen to you, and your combative tone and meandering logic mean that even consumers won’t heed your misguided rallying cry.

    What Fair Trade boils down to is exactly what J said “increasing awareness about the plights of the people at the bottom end of the supply chain and thereby increasing support for fair trade prices and work conditions”. Fair Trade doesn’t even come close to fixing the issues in the system. What it does do is getting complacent americans to start thinking about the entire supply chain behind the products they consume. You can’t make any more substantive positive changes (such as Direct Trade which J highlights) if there isn’t a base awareness of the system. FT is one small step towards convincing consumers to value social justice, quality, seasonality and sustainable production.

    I’d be happy to talk to you or anyone else more about this, online or in person. I really firmly believe in the necessity of improving the current system through realistic, immediately and sustainably effective means.

  5. Dan

    I stopped reading your article after you made that cliche “golden arches is imperialism” comment. McDonald’s is a business… its existence in foreign nations inherently means that enough members of those nations enjoy its products for it to stay in business. Therefore Mcdonald’s is unarguably welcome by a significant portion of the population in any country where it exists.

    you seem like one of those liberals that needs to find evidence of corporations bullying the little guy even where it doesn’t exist. Though large businesses specifically serve their own interests, that doesn’t mean that everything they do is bad for the world. Their buying power is good for developing countries (as in the case of fair trade… shouldn’t we buy products from poor nations that have crops for sale??), and they are often able to bring products that people enjoy (like McDonald’s) to countries that would otherwise not have those products.

    Though everyone in the world is in it for themselves, they are not necessarily TRYING to screw over the little guy

  6. Dan

    I stopped reading your article after you made that cliche “golden arches is imperialism” comment. McDonald’s is a business… its existence in foreign nations inherently means that enough members of those nations enjoy its products for it to stay in business. Therefore Mcdonald’s is unarguably welcome by a significant portion of the population in any country where it exists.

    you seem like one of those liberals that needs to find evidence of corporations bullying the little guy even where it doesn’t exist. Though large businesses specifically serve their own interests, that doesn’t mean that everything they do is bad for the world. Their buying power is good for developing countries (as in the case of fair trade… shouldn’t we buy products from poor nations that have crops for sale??), and they are often able to bring products that people enjoy (like McDonald’s) to countries that would otherwise not have those products.

    Though everyone in the world is in it for themselves, they are not necessarily TRYING to screw over the little guy

  7. J

    Matt,
    I’m having trouble following your arguments. On one hand, you criticize free market imperialism, and then you say that fair trade hurts competition–one of the central pillars of free markets. Point three in your comment didn’t really make any sense to me either.

    I certainly don’t think that the fair trade certification system is perfect, but I don’t think that your arguments are very clear or effective in criticizing the idea of fair trade. In a perfect fair trade system, all farmers/workers would be guaranteed fair, living prices/wages and working conditions. As a consequence, either prices for consumers would have to rise or (preferably) some of the profits going to intermediary vendors would have to be eliminated. Increased prices for consumers should not necessarily be seen as a flaw in the system. I think that the idea is that consumers should be able to make the conscious decision to pay more for products when they know that it will result in the original producers being pulled out of harsh poverty. The bigger issues with fair trade are then with the certification system—making sure that the increased revenue from selling the products actually goes to the original producers—and with the potential that, while helping some farmers, fair trade may be hurting those who are not able to sell to fair trade companies or who can no longer make a living due to lack of demand for their products.

    I agree that we should be looking for improved solutions. But I think that this involves in part increasing awareness about the plights of the people at the bottom end of the supply chain and thereby increasing support for fair trade prices and work conditions (and also more ecologically sustainable production techniques). Also, more direct connections between original producers and consumers would mean less money is sucked out of the system by intermediaries who add little or no value to the goods.

    As for the argument about imperialism, I think that an essential part of helping traditionally exploited communities is in opening communication and cooperation with these communities to discover what the people in the communities themselves want and need. And I think that fair trade companies tend to be much better in this regard than non-fair trade companies.

  8. J

    Matt,
    I’m having trouble following your arguments. On one hand, you criticize free market imperialism, and then you say that fair trade hurts competition–one of the central pillars of free markets. Point three in your comment didn’t really make any sense to me either.

    I certainly don’t think that the fair trade certification system is perfect, but I don’t think that your arguments are very clear or effective in criticizing the idea of fair trade. In a perfect fair trade system, all farmers/workers would be guaranteed fair, living prices/wages and working conditions. As a consequence, either prices for consumers would have to rise or (preferably) some of the profits going to intermediary vendors would have to be eliminated. Increased prices for consumers should not necessarily be seen as a flaw in the system. I think that the idea is that consumers should be able to make the conscious decision to pay more for products when they know that it will result in the original producers being pulled out of harsh poverty. The bigger issues with fair trade are then with the certification system—making sure that the increased revenue from selling the products actually goes to the original producers—and with the potential that, while helping some farmers, fair trade may be hurting those who are not able to sell to fair trade companies or who can no longer make a living due to lack of demand for their products.

    I agree that we should be looking for improved solutions. But I think that this involves in part increasing awareness about the plights of the people at the bottom end of the supply chain and thereby increasing support for fair trade prices and work conditions (and also more ecologically sustainable production techniques). Also, more direct connections between original producers and consumers would mean less money is sucked out of the system by intermediaries who add little or no value to the goods.

    As for the argument about imperialism, I think that an essential part of helping traditionally exploited communities is in opening communication and cooperation with these communities to discover what the people in the communities themselves want and need. And I think that fair trade companies tend to be much better in this regard than non-fair trade companies.

  9. Matt

    Anon…

    1) There’s nothing wrong with citing sources (that don’t support an argument) while writing a position paper. If the facts are true, then the source is simply an outlet of information. For example, Fox news has a clear bias, but if it’s the only outlet that publishes a certain story, making an argument to the contrary (while taking info from the source) shouldn’t be looked down on.

    2) You claim that the writing is based on a “poorly conceived Marxist claim,” with evidence that isn’t supported by the sources. Unfortunately, by that logic, your claim is a “poorly conceived Devil’s Advocacy.” You clearly take issue with the fact that the article takes a position (even though, after reading the title, one would think that much was obvious) and you never once criticized the article’s most elaborate point (the spread of imperialism by introducing unwanted market economics overseas, and hurting competition by placing corrupt barriers to market entry). No offense, but to be a good Devil’s Advocate… that’s kind of important.

    3) The citation of Fair Trade price ($1.26) contrasted with market price ($0.60) does nothing to discourage the article’s message. Since Fair Trade attempts to intervene in otherwise failing (or corrupt) markets, those figures don’t necessarily indicate that the market price AND cost of production are met. Furthermore, the reduced number of firms allowed to compete in a country (due to corruption within the Fair Trade system) ensures that larger producers receive an above-market-price reward… promoting poverty amongst smaller firms (eliminated by Fair Trade) and, by your own logic, artificially raising price for everyone else!

    Maybe a better use of comment-posting space would be to brainstorm possible solutions (that have the same goal as Fair Trade, but are more environmentally, economically, and socially responsible?)

  10. Matt

    Anon…

    1) There’s nothing wrong with citing sources (that don’t support an argument) while writing a position paper. If the facts are true, then the source is simply an outlet of information. For example, Fox news has a clear bias, but if it’s the only outlet that publishes a certain story, making an argument to the contrary (while taking info from the source) shouldn’t be looked down on.

    2) You claim that the writing is based on a “poorly conceived Marxist claim,” with evidence that isn’t supported by the sources. Unfortunately, by that logic, your claim is a “poorly conceived Devil’s Advocacy.” You clearly take issue with the fact that the article takes a position (even though, after reading the title, one would think that much was obvious) and you never once criticized the article’s most elaborate point (the spread of imperialism by introducing unwanted market economics overseas, and hurting competition by placing corrupt barriers to market entry). No offense, but to be a good Devil’s Advocate… that’s kind of important.

    3) The citation of Fair Trade price ($1.26) contrasted with market price ($0.60) does nothing to discourage the article’s message. Since Fair Trade attempts to intervene in otherwise failing (or corrupt) markets, those figures don’t necessarily indicate that the market price AND cost of production are met. Furthermore, the reduced number of firms allowed to compete in a country (due to corruption within the Fair Trade system) ensures that larger producers receive an above-market-price reward… promoting poverty amongst smaller firms (eliminated by Fair Trade) and, by your own logic, artificially raising price for everyone else!

    Maybe a better use of comment-posting space would be to brainstorm possible solutions (that have the same goal as Fair Trade, but are more environmentally, economically, and socially responsible?)

  11. andrew

    this article is filled with wrong facts. unfortunately, you can not take seriously the author’s arguments when the facts used to base these arguments are not accurate.

    hard to argue with ideologists though…

  12. andrew

    this article is filled with wrong facts. unfortunately, you can not take seriously the author’s arguments when the facts used to base these arguments are not accurate.

    hard to argue with ideologists though…

  13. ooblick

    great post, i’m glad to see this kind of work on wesleying, definitely an interesting read, “fair” trade is a pretty good scam to be sure.

    the next question then, as you’ve singled out pi, is where get their coffee and how much more would it cost them? let’s note that pierce brothers is organic and is shade grown (if you care about that sort of thing) and is engaged in philanthropy outside of being fair trade http://www.piercebroscoffee.com/index.php?cPath=11

    this is not to suggest there arent much better options out there, but i don’t know much about this. what are they?

  14. ooblick

    great post, i’m glad to see this kind of work on wesleying, definitely an interesting read, “fair” trade is a pretty good scam to be sure.

    the next question then, as you’ve singled out pi, is where get their coffee and how much more would it cost them? let’s note that pierce brothers is organic and is shade grown (if you care about that sort of thing) and is engaged in philanthropy outside of being fair trade http://www.piercebroscoffee.com/index.php?cPath=11

    this is not to suggest there arent much better options out there, but i don’t know much about this. what are they?

  15. Anon

    This article obsures the actual impact of Fair Trade, and makes an unsubstaniated, one sided arugment that should have been better screened before being posted on Wesleying.

    Firstly, looking the at the “sources” revels that only one, the New Internationalist article, actualy supports the argument put forward. The NYT article responding to the economist article is focused on Organic farming and the OCA site supports fair trade.

    Second, the arguments put forward don’t add up. Fair trade is a system that pays farmers prices for their crops that cover the price of producion. In the OCA link on coffee the “market price” per pound is $.60 whereas the fair trade price is $1.26. Fair trade is attempting to correct imbalances in the market by giving FAIR prices for the goods. Sure CATO institute and others argue that market intervention is always negative, but this ideology is questionable (and regardless is not the argument put forward in this article)

    The argument that is put forward is a poorly concieved Marxist claim that intervention of any type globally is wrong. This is the argument on the New Internationalist site and though not clearly stated the argument in this article. The issue here though is not that farmers are being paid fair prices, but that there are also social development attached to the program and that fair trade gives ligitmation to the big bad corporations (sarcasm intended).

    Sure fair trade isn’t perfect but offering prices that refelect the cost of production and returning profits top the farmers is an amazing step in the right direction. So before baseless, one sided, poorly articulated arguments like this are put on Wesleying, editors should at least consult the well sourced wikipedia article.

    Sources:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade#Criticism
    http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/coffee/
    http://www.fairtrade.net/
    http://books.google.com/books?id=Hmj6UlKhVDcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=FAIR+TRADE&source=bll&ots=5WbKLaWs83&sig=dpjX43kzIu70E-cpuGa351MeJqw&hl=en&ei=h56BS6XNDsGUtgft_-X-Bg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=14&ved=0CEsQ6AEwDQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false

    P.S. The critism put forth by the 2005 economist article, in case this wasn’t clear in the article, was that fair trade doesn’t cover ENOUGH producers not that fair trade is a bad thing in itself. A more recent 2007 post was on the Economist blog by a right-wing free marketer, again complaining about intervention in the market. And its not even about fair trade so much as the prices being paid by consumers, which are seen as cutting into the profits of fair trade companies, a market shrinking thing in this economic model (though their only reference for this is Costa Coffee). The blog post is here http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2007/10/is_it_fair

  16. Anon

    This article obsures the actual impact of Fair Trade, and makes an unsubstaniated, one sided arugment that should have been better screened before being posted on Wesleying.

    Firstly, looking the at the “sources” revels that only one, the New Internationalist article, actualy supports the argument put forward. The NYT article responding to the economist article is focused on Organic farming and the OCA site supports fair trade.

    Second, the arguments put forward don’t add up. Fair trade is a system that pays farmers prices for their crops that cover the price of producion. In the OCA link on coffee the “market price” per pound is $.60 whereas the fair trade price is $1.26. Fair trade is attempting to correct imbalances in the market by giving FAIR prices for the goods. Sure CATO institute and others argue that market intervention is always negative, but this ideology is questionable (and regardless is not the argument put forward in this article)

    The argument that is put forward is a poorly concieved Marxist claim that intervention of any type globally is wrong. This is the argument on the New Internationalist site and though not clearly stated the argument in this article. The issue here though is not that farmers are being paid fair prices, but that there are also social development attached to the program and that fair trade gives ligitmation to the big bad corporations (sarcasm intended).

    Sure fair trade isn’t perfect but offering prices that refelect the cost of production and returning profits top the farmers is an amazing step in the right direction. So before baseless, one sided, poorly articulated arguments like this are put on Wesleying, editors should at least consult the well sourced wikipedia article.

    Sources:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade#Criticism
    http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/coffee/
    http://www.fairtrade.net/
    http://books.google.com/books?id=Hmj6UlKhVDcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=FAIR+TRADE&source=bll&ots=5WbKLaWs83&sig=dpjX43kzIu70E-cpuGa351MeJqw&hl=en&ei=h56BS6XNDsGUtgft_-X-Bg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=14&ved=0CEsQ6AEwDQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false

    P.S. The critism put forth by the 2005 economist article, in case this wasn’t clear in the article, was that fair trade doesn’t cover ENOUGH producers not that fair trade is a bad thing in itself. A more recent 2007 post was on the Economist blog by a right-wing free marketer, again complaining about intervention in the market. And its not even about fair trade so much as the prices being paid by consumers, which are seen as cutting into the profits of fair trade companies, a market shrinking thing in this economic model (though their only reference for this is Costa Coffee). The blog post is here http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2007/10/is_it_fair

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