Saturday, February 09, 2008

Oh great, another fair trade fortnight!

It doesn't seem like a year since the last time there was a "Fair Trade Fortnight" but guess what, it is. And with the same regularity we have motion tabled in Parliament praising it which says it "supports fair trade as an established way for developing communities to trade their way out of poverty". Reality check. Free trade is the only fair trade. So called "Fair Trade" is a big con trick designed to make Islington Yummy Mummies feel like they are helping poor countries whilst the big rich countries maintain aggressive and oppressive tariff regimes on import.

There is nothing fair about "fair trade" because it has been designed to operate in a system of trade that is steeped in protectionism. The EU likes to think it is enlightened and in favour of international development. Gordon Brown claims that he wants to lift people in Africa out of poverty but he does nothing to remove the tariffs. If we really wanted to help developing countries trade their way out of poverty then how about we stop protecting our own industries and let them compete on a level playing field?

Wait! Ignore me, I'm being stupid. That would mean that lots of farmers here would have to diversify and adapt as they would not be able to compete with the prices, and we couldn't have that now could we! When you see promotion of so-called "Fair Trade" remember this, it exists in order to ensure that these countries can never trade to a point where they can pass us. It's claim to fairness is a lie.

19 comments:

Croydonian said...

Amen brother. Low agricultural prices are a very clear market signal that a farmer should do something other than farming, and inflated 'fair trade' prices serve to postpone a rational decision. At some point the 'fair trade' fad will end, and those farmers will face a far more precipitous fall in income than would otherwise have been the case.

asquith said...

Yes, but what effect will it have on this country if all farmers are driven off the land? It may well be the "market" solution, but it isn't something I want to see happening. Surely people of a conservative tendency wouldn't want to castrate rural life in such a way. If there's any point at all in the Countryside Alliance, it should be to support actual rural communities based on rural employment, and agriculture is a part of that.

Besides which, many people are now moving towards locally sourced foods for a series of reasons.

canvas said...

The problem with fairtrade coffee is that it tastes soooo bad.

dizzy said...

asquith, trade is one of the things that I am quite rigid on. Farmers will have to adapt. Simple as that.

Croydonian said...

Asquith - I will be blunt: why are farmers / rural dwellers more deserving of feather bedding than bankers?

Rob said...

I've always hated fair trade. You've said exactly what I think on the subject.

Trixy said...

I know you hate me pointing this out, but we no longer have our own trade policy as it was handed over to the EU (by Tories, iirc) and now Peter Mandelson represents us at the WTO. That's nice, isn't it.

Also, the majority of our aid is decided by the EU, which is why we fund Hamas. Nice.

Want free trade? Leave the EU...you know I'm right...

(word verification: nobknucks)

Alex said...

An island nation that imported all its food might as well not bother to have any armed forces. Three months of blockades would probably be enough to force a surrender.
If we shut down all our farms then the next time we went to war we would be overrun before anybody had been trained up enough to restart farming.

Alex said...

Oh and your information about tariffs is not correct. When dealing with the poorest nations the richer nations generally charge little or no import duty.

If you divide the world into the richest 35, the next 80 and the rest about another 120, the richest impose tariffs on goods imported from the next eight, particularly manufactured goods which might displace manufacturers in the rich countries (and they support their own farmers to the detriment of lower cost farmers in other countries), but they do not impose anything on the imports from the poorest countries. However slightly less well off countries (e.g. the Malaysias and Thailands) will impose duties on imports from pooerer countries to protect their own agricultural base.

guilty firstworlder said...

I'm not a big conspiracy theorist, however I do believe that at the heart of '1st world' policies towards Africa there are 2fundamental lies.

1. That industrialized nations want to develop Africa's economies.

They don't, it would threaten jobs in the 1st world economies. They secretly prefer that Africa isn't in the loop.
They prefer to subsidize economic failure through aid.

2. The myth that aid as directed through NGOs is of any lasting use.

It isn't. The neo-colonialist NGOs bring in people from outside Africa to run projects that in many cases fulfill the functions of government. How can African government progress when those governments are paid to fail by the NGOs?

yokel said...

Who is the Kenyan economist who recently made a case for stopping all aid, now?

judith said...

I'm rather with Asquith on this one - there may well be a case for reducing many of the subsidies for the great robber barons of the farming community, but from the aspect of security of food supply, we should indeed be creating favourable conditions for British farmers.

Why do we (rightly)impose rigid welfare standards on, say, British pig farmers, yet allow in Danish pork reared to much lower standards? Why are there limits on how much milk we can produce?

Thanks, EU, for that.

Chris Paul said...

Twat!

Grendel said...

Quite so.

Anoneumouse said...

Alex has a point about being an island nation and the need for armed forces. However, if we did end up in a war scenario, we need armed men to kill off all the greenies, the warmists, NGO supporters and quango sitters and we would have enough rotting corpses to create a land bridge to the free world.

Forget the land bridge uncork a nice Chianti
.

Croydonian said...

Mind you, look at all the rather amusing google ads this thread has supplied - so anyone disagreeing with Dizz and agreeing with what I suppose CP considers to be an argument can click away with gay abandon.

Geoff said...

Can anyone remind me which comedy show did a mock announcement of a "No-National-Week Week"?

It's always "International Save The Aubergines Day" or "National Shag Hedgehogs for Charity Day"

Who decides these things? Why don't we just declare a "Free Trade Fortnight"? Set up a blog for it? Send out some press releases? Ask a sensible MP to drop an EDM on the table? We could fight back a bit even if it is only through satire.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

There is nothing fair about "fair trade" because it has been designed to operate in a system of trade that is steeped in protectionism.

Always was and was one of the reasons Pascal sat back and watched Doha go down.

asquith said...

Alan Duncan sings the praises of fair trade in his interview with The Independent today. But he seems not to really mean it. One of those Janus-faced statements that are meant to appeal to liberals, while reassuring the hard right. A classic Cameroon!