After the Bangladesh factory collapse, horrible images circulated widely detailing the story of more than 1,000 people dying in an unimaginable tragedy. This one incident seemed to wake people up to the horrors of indentured and slave labor and woefully underpaid workers. The major news sources including Time, the London Globe, Huffington Post, as well as countless other media, took up the cause of these abused laborers. The ethics of the clothing companies came into question. Stock markets were affected.
For a week.
This is just one example of a greedy Free trade market. Free trade was not designed to be greedy. The human desire for more for less has gotten out of control.
On the flip side, then, is fair trade. October is International Fair Trade Month. It is designed to educate consumers on the reasons behind buying fair trade products. So, why fair trade and what makes it different?
Which would you purchase? A white shirt made in Indonesia selling for $14.99 with a “designer label” or a white shirt made in Indonesia for $25 which has a fair trade designation? Why do you think there is such a discrepancy?
[continued reading the remainder of the article at the link below]
Every item that we buy comes from somewhere, and many people were involved in bringing it to you. If it is something that is widely used and distributed, or part of global commerce, it is worth being aware of its origins and the policies and methods that have brought that item to you. This can be especially important when it comes to items brought here en masse from developing nations.
As Americans, we can be apathetically unaware that people may be dying for us to have our everyday comforts—like a cup of coffee or our cellphones. Most are completely unaware that, for instance, cellphones contain the mineral cobalt, which is mainly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There has been much controversy in DRC, especially over the issue of child soldiers, and the cobalt mining industry is wrought with human rights issues. We use our cellphones everyday, but we do not think of the people in the Congo everyday.
When something is “fair trade,” the exchange of that item is based on the ideals of social and economic justice. Fair trade is meant to empower marginalized people—vulnerable artisans, workers, and farmers from less-industrialized nations—and improve the quality of their lives. [read the entire article at the link below]