excerpt of my comment: Fairly fair isn’t fair enough
Clearly, fair trade accords with my ideas of solidarity and human dignity and my basic value that all people, independent of their origins, their gender or their beliefs are equal. But this shouldn’t be the reason why I buy fair trade products. I would go as far as to say that sympathy is a fatal purchase driver. Because the global economy, of which all of us, including fair trade, are a part, will allow humanitarian parameters only in so far as they do not get in the way of the main goal, which is to make a profit. And any sympathy will only be extended as far as it doesn’t encroach on one’s own living standards. Thus the producer stays dependent on a consumer whose wealth is built on the shoulders of his poverty. Only when the manufacturer can afford the same products as the consumers at the other end of the world, can we talk of genuine fairness. But we won’t be able to achieve this state of affairs as long as they remain in the role of the invisible poor and thus legitimise the privileged customers to remain in their role.
The fast growing number of critical consumers is interested in the circumstances under which their goods are produced. Fair trade shortens the link between consumers and producers, provides transparency and promises an ecological chain of production. But the mere feasibility for the consumer to be able to buy fair trade products, marks them out as privileged. So the decision to buy fair trade is a choice of the lesser evil; from a position of privilege to attempt to introduce a little justice. Economic behaviour thus evolves into social behaviour. However, it remains a trade in indulgences. It is about breaking down this moralistic trickle-down effect, whereby the Western consumer passes on a piece of his wealth, in the form of consumption. The aim must be that they prefer fair trade goods, because they are – in every respect – the better offer.