Some of the political campaigns of the Fairtrade Foundation - though certainly not its well judged campaign against cotton subsidies - might well, if they were successful, damage free trade and harm the world’s poorest people. But we should not pit “fair trade” against “free trade”. Fair trade arises from the free choices of individuals. There is no free market case against fair trade, as is sometimes suggested, but there are pragmatic reasons to think twice before being caught up in the slipstream of this movement.
The Fairtrade mark is, of course, a great marketing coup. Who wants to be seen as “unfair”? But to imply that free transactions are not fair unless they are stamped and certified by one particular organisation is wrong.
Monday, 2 March 2009
Philip Booth on Fairtrade (emphasis added):
Posted by Andrew R. Gimber at 19:27