Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Unfair Trade, the Skeptics View

Why don't stores carry any any unfair trade labelled products? I mean, for someone like me, who is a little short on cash, and without any major moral dilemmas, unfair trade products represent an ease on the wallet.

Now their must be unfair trade products, because there are fair trade products. So should we assume all imports not labelled 'fair trade' are exploitive and made in sweatshops?

How much better treated does someone in fair trade get? In the third world, a job is a job. The going rate for labour is the going rate. Do fair trade companies say that's not fair, we're raising the bar? Who cares if our products are more expensive?

Or is it a big scam to make more money? Can I really trace those coffee beans, or the chocolate bars back to fair trade practices, whatever fair trade is really defined as? Was there absolutely no sexual harassment in the workplace, no unscrupulous boss getting some nookie in the back office so the new girl could keep her job? How can I be sure? Do the books show these bosses paying employees generously? How do I know they're not getting a kickback when the 'fair trade' police are looking the other way?

Are workers making minimum wage according to first world standards? I think that would be the true meaning of fair trade. Paying a guy the nine bucks an hour someone here in Ontario would get for doing the same job.

Fair trade? No thanks, I'll cheap out every time.

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