Gandhi and the problems of slightly less unfair trade

One of the reasons I’ve not been blogging much recently is that I’ve been spending more time on twitter, something which has suprised me.

In particular I’ve been interested to find myself having very engaging dialogue with @gentlemandad Joe Turner, himself an activist and writer, about things like fair trade, community living and so on.

Joe has written a very intelligent and questioning piece on his blog about issues surrounding fair trade. I must say that this challenges me. I, like Joe, have been involved in advocating fair trade for many years, but I recognise the points he makes as valid, and in need of addressing.

For me the issue is that in an economic system which is so based upon the need for inequality (capitalism) and so prevalent across the world, we are surely unable to conceive of a system which will effectively reverse the power of producers versus consumers. At the moment consumers here in the ‘developed world’ have the power, we are the rich, the developing world is trying to get rich, to get power. In fact it may just be that India and China are going to succeed, which will make for an interesting power dynamic shift over the next few decades. But I digress, to my mind while we are so deeply dug in to this capitalist system we can never really hope for a really and truly fair system, slightly less unfair trade may actually be as good as it gets…

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