Sunday, 10 January 2010

How "fair" is that?

"Fairness" is one those words that sound really good and mean very little. "Fair Trade" is assumed to be good, thus progressives buy "Fair Trade Coffee" thinking that they are saving the world. That is only wishful thinking.

"Fairness" cannot be measured. Is £0.50 extra on the price of the coffee "fair" enough? or £0.63? paying an extra premium to selected farmers in poor countries only damage their competitive edge against other farmers which will eventually bankrupt them: free money does little to incentive better production.

It is equally absurd to try to "help" poor farmers whilst the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) uses nearly 50% of the EU budget in trying to keep poor countries' agriculture out of European supermarkets by protecting rich French farmers. Should the CAP be lifted, poor farmers in Africa would be able to sell their products in the EU and earn an honest living.

"Fair trade" is like "global warming" and "organic food": just nice words to make some wishful thinkers in the West feel better about themselves and add some meaning to their lives (saving the African farmers or, think big, the Planet). It is also a very damaging to Third World economies.


Anonymous said...

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today..........................

banned said...

The local Big Issue office sports a sign saying "We welcome all donations but would prefer Fair Trade coffee". Cheeky twats.

Fair point about the CAP though, just a protection racket for crappy little French 'farms'.