• MennoMelange
  • Monday, March 19, 2007

    Its Not Free Trade.

    I was reading a book review in this weekend's Globe, and thought it was fairly informative, until I got to the part where the reviewer writes:
    Unfortunately, too many of us will resist reducing our lifestyles to the values McKibben argues will be necessary to save the Earth. We may buy our produce at a local farmer's market, but we'll usually drive there, many of us in SUVs. We may choose free-trade coffee, but won't give it up to reduce the copious quantities of fossil fuels burned to ship the beans around the globe.
    If the author calls it free trade coffee, I wouldn't buy the book. This all too familiar mistake really bugs me. Free trade and fair trade are opposites. Fair trade encourages sustainable development, gender equity and better working conditions, and consumers pay a higher price knowing that more of the money is going to the workers, not market middle men. This higher price can be seen as a tariff (by some) and thus is the exact thing that free trade is trying to abolish.


    At 10:54 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

    Except of course that 'free trade' as done by NAFTA and the WTO still leaves too many trade barriers and protectionist measures in place that actually distort the market and result in the poor conditions the lefties like to talk about. If 'true' free trade existed ie. no EU farm subsidies, no US steel tariffs and allowed key developing countries to lower their trade barriers they coudl all compete a lot more honestly and make a lot more money.

    The EU's common agricultural policy provides the equivalent of 2 euros per europan cow, while many in developing nations depending on agricultural produce live on less than that.

    Its not free vs. fair trade. Its how to ensure true free trade and things will be fair.



    At 7:20 AM, Blogger bitz said...

    Yeah, Pat, I would never suggest that 'free trade' as practiced by us (or US) is actually free trade. I just hate that people call it free trade coffee. It just shows that people dont know what those words are connected to.
    Like if people mistakenly said it is 'the fair trade softwood lumber dispute'... like WTF!?


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