Open season on Fairtrade continues... | Eighteen Rabbit Fair Trade

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Open season on Fairtrade continues...

by Andrew Williams | July 06, 2014

Another day, another article bemoaning the ills of Fairtrade. This time it's the Economist with a review of Ndongo Sylla's new book, "The Fair Trade Scandal - Marketing Poverty to Benefit the Rich." I haven't read the book and therefore have to interpret its message through the lens of the Economist, who - unsurprisingly - think that Fairtrade is probably, you know, a pretty bad thing.

 

The arguments are familiar - Fairtrade benefits big business rather than small farmers, the beneficiaries are mostly countries like Mexico and South Africa who should be able to stand on their own two feet, and the actual cash trickling down to the lowest levels of the supply chain are very small. 

 

I am looking forward to reading the book to find out whether it's just another list of problems, or whether there are solutions being proposed to improve the Fairtrade system. Unlike the Economist, the author (who works for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and has a background in development) is presumably on the side of greater intervention to make trade fairer. At Eighteen Rabbit we are firmly on the side of people working to make the world a fairer, more equitable place. Constructive criticism is an essential part of that, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater isn't going to benefit anyone.  

Tagged: Economist, fair trade, fairtrade, ndongo sylla