Buying into Fair Trade: Culture, Morality, and Consumption by Keith R. Brown

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By Keith R. Brown

Stamped on items from espresso to handicrafts, the time period “fair trade” has quick develop into one in every of today’s so much seductive customer buzzwords. Purportedly created via reasonable hard work practices, or in ways in which are environmentally sustainable, fair-trade items supply purchasers peace of brain in understanding that, in conception, how they store might help make the area a greater position. Buying into reasonable Trade turns the highlight onto this starting to be development, exploring how fair-trade consumers take into consideration their very own altruism inside an more and more worldwide economy.

Using over a hundred interviews with fair-trade shoppers, nationwide leaders of the flow, espresso farmers, and artisans, writer Keith Brown describes either the ideas that buyers use to confront the ethical contradictions keen on attempting to store ethically and the methods shopkeepers and providers reconcile their have to do reliable with the ever present have to flip a revenue. as well as his in-depth research of the fair-trade marketplace, Brown additionally offers a how-to bankruptcy that outlines recommendations readers can use to seem altruistic.This bankruptcy highlights the ways in which socially dependable markets were indifferent from problems with morality. a desirable account of ways shoppers first find out about, comprehend, and infrequently forget about the moral implications of procuring, Buying into reasonable Trade sheds new gentle at the capability for the reasonable alternate industry to reshape the area right into a extra socially-just position.

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Extra info for Buying into Fair Trade: Culture, Morality, and Consumption

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Becoming an Ethical Consumer I begin chapter 2 by introducing Joe Cesa, the owner of Philadelphia’s first fair-trade coffee shop. He is a staple of Philadelphia’s movement for socially responsible shopping. He may not be the most high-profile member (that honor likely goes to Judy Wicks, the founder of the Sustainable Business Network and the White Dog Café), but he played a pivotal role in expanding awareness about fair trade. I describe the factors that led Joe to vigorously support fair trade and describe the obstacles he faced in trying to run a profitable, socially responsible business.

At the time, I didn’t drink coffee, and I didn’t know “Just One Normal Coffee” >> 39 anyone in Philadelphia’s coffee community. Soon after entering Joe’s coffee shop, I noticed that the store was filled with pamphlets promoting John Kerry, the Democratic candidate in the upcoming 2004 presidential election. As election day neared, I stopped in the store more often and continued to hear Joe, the store’s owner, advocate for Kerry. Joe even carried products that attacked President George W. Bush, like his “Embarrassmints” and “Impeachmints,” both with pictures of Bush on the cover of the tin case.

These consumers buy fair-trade products when they are readily available and will occasionally go a little out of their way to shop responsibly. Like promoters, they tend to be highly educated, upper-middle-class consumers. Many said they would pay a bit more for fair-trade, organic, or locally produced products. They differ from the promoters in that they do not see themselves as part of a larger movement and do not partake in the rituals or consciousness-building activities that serve to foster a fair-trade identity.

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