Monday, February 25, 2008

Unfair trade : download the Adam Smith Institute report

It is here

Here are the highlights of the executive summary points, which are even more damning than I expected. 10% of the fairtrade premium goes to the producer, the rest is retail markup:

• Fair trade does not aid economic development. It operates to keep the poor in their place, sustaining uncompetitive farmers on their land and holding back diversification, mechanization, and moves up the value chain. This denies future generations the chance of a better life.
• Fair trade is targeted to help landowners, and not the agricultural labourers who suffer the severest poverty. Fairtrade rules actually make it more difficult for labourers to gain permanent, full-time employment.
• Four-fifths of the produce sold by Fairtrade-certified farmers ends up in non-Fairtrade goods. At the same time, it is possible that many goods sold as Fairtrade might not actually be Fairtrade at all.
Just 10% of the premium consumers pay for Fairtrade actually goes to the producer. Retailers pocket the rest.

So I challenge the Green Party, and promoters of so called "fair trade", to present the evidence. Show it is more than spreading guilt, feeling good and paying more.

Ask everywhere if your council or employer has hopped onto this bandwagon, why. Send them a copy of the report, and tell them to stop wasting money on this fraud, and instead lobby for free trade, or support a genuine NGO charity in a poorer country.

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