Fair Trade from the Ground Up: New Markets for Social Justice

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University of Washington Press, Sep 1, 2012 - Business & Economics - 200 pages

Fair Trade promises to raise living standards in developing countries through:

- worldwide minimum prices for commodities

- support for democratically governed cooperatives

- requirement of minimum wages and safety standards for workers

- training to help producers improved quality and develop business skills

- encouragement of eco-friendly practices

- third-party certification

In contrast to the free trade status quo, Fair Trade relies on informed consumers to choose more direct supply chains that minimize the role of middlemen, offering economic justice and social change as a viable and sustainable alternative to charity. But does it work?

Fair Trade from the Ground Up documents achievements at both the producer and the consumer ends of commodity chains and assesses prospects for future growth. From Guatemalan coffee farmers to student activists on U.S. college campuses, the stories of individuals inform April Linton's analysis. Drawing on studies by social scientists and economists, as well as on new case studies, she provides balanced answers to hard questions: How can large institutions be persuaded to commit to using Fair Trade suppliers? Does ethical consumerism work? Are the "social premiums" that are built into Fair Trade prices really being used for community projects? Will Fair Trade market growth reach the scale of organics or green products? This book meets a long-felt need among economic-justice activists, consumer groups, and academics for a reliable qualitative and quantitative overview of achievements of the Fair Trade movement.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Fair Trade from the Ground Up
14
Fair Trade Coffee in Guatemala
37
How Do Producers Spend the Social Premium?
55
Selling and Buying Fair Trade
76
Fair Trade Activists in the United States
101
A Fair Trade University
120
Growing Fair Trade
145
Notes
165
References
173
Contributors
185
Index
187
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

April Linton taught sociology at the University of California San Diego and now works for the Fair Labor Association in Washington, DC. She is coeditor of The Global Governance of Food.

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