Is 'Fairtrade', fair trade?

If you would like to take a look at a really interesting Oscar page, which Ian Meredith has composed, I think that could bring forth a lot of interesting discussion.


'Fair Trade? Think Again.' by Ian Meredith


How complacent are we, with the current system of the Fairtrade foundation? Is it a sustainable system for the long term?

How much should we allow the Fairtrade foundation to 'monopolise our thoughts and ideas so that we cannot dream and build for a better, and even fairer, trade' (Ian Meredith).


There is an article written by Ian, which should also prove to be a good read...


Is Fairtrade the Same as Just Trade? A Direct Trade Perspective - Ian Meredith


There is also a free online downloadable copy of the book called 'Fair Trade Without the Froth' by Sushil Mohan, which should give a great insight into the topic, if you are interested.

'Fair Trade Without the Froth' By Sushil Mohan



Please leave a comment, a thought or even a question. You could also leave your response from before and after your reading of these articles, to show whether or not it has changed anything for you?


Happy reading!


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  • Hi, I am glad that there is a forum on this, and I have just been able to glance at the papers listed above, although I have not read all of them. I note that the authors say that they are not saying all that there is to say on the matter, and that they seem to speak sense. (I will read more if I can ...)

    I have been asked about fair trade at different times. I do agree with some of the above authors in their perception of the limitations of free trade as such. Whether or not they mention this - one important limitation I think could be that pursuing fair trade (in the limited sense of fair trade products) should be seen in respect to a counter-factual. That is - what alternatives are there for the time and resources being used to promote fair trade? I suspect that there may be a better use of such resources. In this sense fair trade would be a matter of someone's 'calling'. That is, if those involved consider themselves called (i.e. let's say divinely appointed) to promote fair trade, then that is hardly something one can argue with. If on the other hand one is taking them in terms of economic and political equations as to how to do 'the most good' then of course that debate will never end! In the latter case, I would suggest, along with the other authors cited above from what I have read of them, fair trade ought not to promote itself beyond what it can accomplish, perhaps to help a few, with considerable administrative cost. They should then not give what would be a misleading impression - that they are able to resolve many of the more megga issues. 

  • Yes, FairTrade is fair trade.  I've read quite a few opinions stating that FairTrade is not an economically viable method, but I remain wholly unconvinced.  It's a very good model that is working extremely well.  I'm still waiting for someone from the "FairTrade doesn't work" camp to put a concrete proposal together for a better system.  Until that happens, I just don't see the point of criticising FairTrade.

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