Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dark energy

Be afraid, Whittakers, be very afraid. Not only does the Facebook group Whittaker's, we want you to go fair trade! have over a thousand members and an unnecessary exclamation mark in its title, but it has no admins. According to the small print "There are no admins left in this group!" This thing is out of control: a vast lumbering hoard of chocolate-eating malcontents, who wouldn't touch Cadbury's chocolate - what with the palm oil and the takeover by Kraft - but who want to see some human rights going on. I would give in, if I were you. It is not much to ask, that the farmers of your cocoa beans do not torture children; and you would be helping to make the world a better place.


6 comments:

Peter in Dundee said...

I am a general fan of the Fairtrade movement but a recent study has found a problem with it. The model only works for small scale co-operatives. As soon as they want to move their business(es) to the next level, to invest in more plant, to grow. They find themselves cut off completely from the Fairtrade lifeline.

They need to have some sort of transition arrangements allowing 3rd world producers to develop if they want to. After all one of the aims is not to make them dependant, but if we limit them to be small scale farmers forever that is what they will be.

Rusty said...

Is there, perchance, a Facebook group dedicated to eradicating Facebook and all of its pathetic inhabitants, from the planet?

Danyl said...

I eat the Trade Aid fair trade chocolate, which is (a) delicious and (b) labelled on the back as 76% fair trade, so I can consume happily knowing that only 24% of my pleasure comes from slave labour.

Rusty said...

Does that mean they only beat 24% of their staff? How do they choose which ones to whack, I wonder? A lottery? Or perhaps it's performance-based.

Trouble with the latter is that a good thrashing with a bullwhip tends to lead to lower performance. And scabs falling in the chocolate. All in all, not optimal, I'd say.

Stephen Stratford said...

"The model only works for small scale co-operatives. As soon as they want to move their business(es) to the next level, to invest in more plant, to grow. They find themselves cut off completely from the Fairtrade lifeline."

That, in a nutshell, is the argument against Fair Trade. It perpetuates poverty.

Peter in Dundee said...

"That, in a nutshell, is the argument against Fair Trade. It perpetuates poverty."

That is too harsh, for poor farmers not in the Fair Trade system it moves them beyond subsistence farming and the reinvestment into what he community wants, whether it be clinics, schools, community centres or whatever really improves people's lives. This has been confirmed by academic studies. My wife works with one of the economists who did one and he is no dewy eyed dreamer but a hard nosed capitalist economist. He admits to being surprised by the strength of his findings.

So Fair Trade is good, but only up to a point and they need to address that issue. So keep buying, I do. Here in the UK for eg the supermarkets are moving to make their own brand stuff FairTrade so it doesn't even have to cost you more.