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Old 02-18-2007, 10:56 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


Is anybody going to address the prohibitive cost of a lot of these fair trade items? It's akin to organic foods and Ali Hewson's ridiculously priced Edun line.

What ends up happening is that the upper classes can go shop at Whole Foods and pat themselves on the back, while say, a crowd which is probably most likely to be progressive (students) have $120K of loans to their name and their last priority is to pay double or triple for coffee beans or chocolate. It sounds harsh, but I know people who are that broke and they are not in a position to change their "buying habits" - as it is they owe $ to multiple institutions.
Exactly, the whole thing is bizarre. The people who are perhaps the most willing to enact a change are in the weakest position to do anything. Like I said, I would like to do more but I don't have the means.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:05 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jamila
It's amazing how a thread started to remind people of the exploitative conditions that the children who pick the cocoa beans to make commercial chocolates can create such controversy.


I was simply suggesting that people make the changes in their buying habits that they can to help make the world a fairer place.


Where is the big controversy in that?


It's FYM. For the millionth time, this forum exists for discussion and debate. If you want to just post news or little reminders, do it in LS or in your journal.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:07 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


Is anybody going to address the prohibitive cost of a lot of these fair trade items? It's akin to organic foods and Ali Hewson's ridiculously priced Edun line.

What ends up happening is that the upper classes can go shop at Whole Foods and pat themselves on the back, while say, a crowd which is probably most likely to be progressive (students) have $120K of loans to their name and their last priority is to pay double or triple for coffee beans or chocolate. It sounds harsh, but I know people who are that broke and they are not in a position to change their "buying habits" - as it is they owe $ to multiple institutions.
Amen.

Where can I get fair trade Top Ramen? I can't remember the last time I spent money on chocolate or coffee of ANY variety.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:08 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jamila
It's amazing how a thread started to remind people of the exploitative conditions that the children who pick the cocoa beans to make commercial chocolates can create such controversy.


I was simply suggesting that people make the changes in their buying habits that they can to help make the world a fairer place.


Where is the big controversy in that?


There is no controversy, it is just not that easy to just change the buying habits, or to end poverty and exploitative work.

I'm also buying fair trade coffee and chcolate every now and then. But as a student I can't live on these products, neither could my parents.

Nobody here seems to totally disagree in fair trade being a good thing, especially when this sector grows so that more and more people can get out of the factories and get work there.

Still, people have to be able to pay the price, and not everybody could do so.
As anitram stated, students have huge debts while studying because of the ridiculous tuition fees, living costs, and what not. At the same time, students are one of the most important target groups in just about every business. But they can't pay the prices for fair trade.

It will take time, and it will need a change in society to realize that we can't exploit the third world forever.
Still, boycotting companies only because they don't pay fair wages does more bad than good. It's a hard fact to swallow, but the families rely on the income these children, women and men bring home. Without this income they die.
Boycotting or, e.g. buying chocolate after Valentine's Day also has another side of the picture.
A decrease in demand leads to a decrease in employment. That's simplest economics taking place here.
When the worker, or the product, doesn't generate value, and the expectations are that the demand will be less in the next year, producers will produce less, hence employ less people.

These people won't find a new job on a plantation that produces at fair trade terms as long as demand there doesn't grow.

I'm sure most of the users here are well aware of exploitation, fair trade and the struggle of the third world. Many participate in one way or another to make a change. But they can't do more than they are able to.

And every thread I've seen in my life has in some way gotten a twist, or went in another direction. When so many people come in and give their thoughts, that basically has to happen, as everybody thinks differently.
It's also not bad, as it keeps such topics alive.
If everybody was just agreeing with the first post, you would see about ten responses such as "Good point" or "I agree on that", others would take a look at the thread, and this thread would disappear in one day.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:13 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


Is anybody going to address the prohibitive cost of a lot of these fair trade items? It's akin to organic foods and Ali Hewson's ridiculously priced Edun line.

What ends up happening is that the upper classes can go shop at Whole Foods and pat themselves on the back, while say, a crowd which is probably most likely to be progressive (students) have $120K of loans to their name and their last priority is to pay double or triple for coffee beans or chocolate. It sounds harsh, but I know people who are that broke and they are not in a position to change their "buying habits" - as it is they owe $ to multiple institutions.
If we look at S.Africa as a parallel, it wasn't until there was widespread trade boycotts and widespread boycotts of institutional investments in S.Africa that chaneg happened.

Not eating a chocolate bar will only help inasmuch as it would alleviate personal 'guilt' , or give you false sense of having done your part. The big multinational food corporations which rely on these practises to keep their prices down are th eones who need to be hit. Their stocks need to be dumped. Not the 25 shares you or I might own, but the blocks of millions held by the mutual fund companies and other institutional investors. Read the prospectuses of the funds in which you put your 401k monies or other investments. Find out which large UK or US multinational the chocolate company is actually part of, and ALL their products need to boycotted, etc. The simple buying habit change being spoken about here will not make things better or worse for the children in question. A large scale boycott of only the chocolate will make matters worse. The food companies will just find their profits elsewhere, probably by squeezing a different group of people.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:53 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


Is anybody going to address the prohibitive cost of a lot of these fair trade items? It's akin to organic foods and Ali Hewson's ridiculously priced Edun line.

What ends up happening is that the upper classes can go shop at Whole Foods and pat themselves on the back, while say, a crowd which is probably most likely to be progressive (students) have $120K of loans to their name and their last priority is to pay double or triple for coffee beans or chocolate. It sounds harsh, but I know people who are that broke and they are not in a position to change their "buying habits" - as it is they owe $ to multiple institutions.
you're right, its not easy. i myself am below the poverty line. but i do make an effort to purchase fair trade, organic, Edun, etc. my way of doing it though just means i consume less. like, having 2 pairs of edun jeans, instead of having like 7 or 8 from old navy or something. its a high price, but it made me consider in my purchases "what do i REALLY need?"

but thats just me, and i'm pretty lucky i can make those choices. theres loads of people where that isn't even an option.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:58 AM   #37
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2 pairs of Edun Jeans, internet access, a computer, buying organic and fair trade = below the poverty line ?
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Old 02-18-2007, 12:04 PM   #38
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Below the poverty line is defined by your income, not by what you have.

Below poverty line in industrialized countries means an income of less than 60 per cent of the average income in one country.
When you allocate your money well, and don't overconsume, you can live very well.

I have internet access as well, but my income is way below poverty line. You just have to save on other things.
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Old 02-18-2007, 12:12 PM   #39
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I can't afford these fair trade items on any sort of regular basis. I'm also below poverty level on income.
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Old 02-18-2007, 12:38 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


Is anybody going to address the prohibitive cost of a lot of these fair trade items? It's akin to organic foods and Ali Hewson's ridiculously priced Edun line.

What ends up happening is that the upper classes can go shop at Whole Foods and pat themselves on the back, while say, a crowd which is probably most likely to be progressive (students) have $120K of loans to their name and their last priority is to pay double or triple for coffee beans or chocolate. It sounds harsh, but I know people who are that broke and they are not in a position to change their "buying habits" - as it is they owe $ to multiple institutions.
I get the impression that it's more expensive and difficult to buy fair trade products in the US than it is say in the UK.
Over here all the main supermarkets sell fairtrade chocolate, coffee, bananas and other fruit. Yes the prices are more expensive than other ranges but often not by much more - generally just pence rather than pounds and certainly not double or triple the price, although I do think that the supermarkets are cashing in themselves on the trend by hiking their prices even more to make more profit for themselves. Sales of fair trade products have apparently risen substantially in the last year or two and there does seem to be a general consumer awareness about buying fair trade, although time will tell as to whether the trend will continue or whether it's more a trendy fad.
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:12 PM   #41
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Originally posted by toscano
2 pairs of Edun Jeans, internet access, a computer, buying organic and fair trade = below the poverty line ?

As defined by the government and updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, the new poverty threshold for a family of four is $19,971; for a family of three, $15,577; and for a family of two, $12,755.
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:15 PM   #42
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I get the impression that it's more expensive and difficult to buy fair trade products in the US than it is say in the UK.
Over here all the main supermarkets sell fairtrade chocolate, coffee, bananas and other fruit. Yes the prices are more expensive than other ranges but often not by much more - generally just pence rather than pounds and certainly not double or triple the price, although I do think that the supermarkets are cashing in themselves on the trend by hiking their prices even more to make more profit for themselves. Sales of fair trade products have apparently risen substantially in the last year or two and there does seem to be a general consumer awareness about buying fair trade, although time will tell as to whether the trend will continue or whether it's more a trendy fad.
It is more difficult actually. You really have to make a conscious effort to seek these sorts of products, as they are not always readily available in some stores. When I was in Ireland, I was surprised to see so many fair trade coffees and teas at a regular grocery store. In this town I live in, I have to go to a particular shop in order to purchase those items.
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:25 PM   #43
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Originally posted by redhotswami

like, having 2 pairs of edun jeans, instead of having like 7 or 8 from old navy or something. its a high price, but it made me consider in my purchases "what do i REALLY need?"
Yes, well some of us have only 2 pairs of cheap jeans, LOL. So it's not an either-or type of scenario.
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:28 PM   #44
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:29 PM   #45
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Yes, well some of us have only 2 pairs of cheap jeans, LOL. So it's not an either-or type of scenario.
i don't know why your comment reminded me of this, but i remember when i started getting holes in my jeans i'd sew patches on them. and then draw on the patches when i was bored in class or something. and then, after being teased or looked at weird, from out of nowhere jeans with fancy patches on them became trendy and sold at expensive prices!!
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