Fire of Liberty
Now while "sophisticates" of the suburban and metro areas of this country might think they are helping out the "working-man" in the third-world by demanding that their local coffee house/shop carry and sale "fair trade" coffee, they fail to realize that they are placing an economic burden on the workers who pick and pack these beans. Well thankfully the Financial Times has a good article out today which points out that the workers(In this case two "fair trade" coffee producers in Peru)are being paid wages well below the standard minimum wage in Peru and also notes that some of these coffee produces are growing their crops in a protected national forest. This might not be trendy and just downright taboo in the circles who demand "fair trade" products but I think they need to stop and think about the benefits of free trade, which allows the coffee producer or any producer to enter into a competitive playing field with no barriers which allows them to make a good profit which then allows the producer to pay more money to their workers and possibly expand their operations to hire more locals. At least with free trade the company is basing their actions on competition and are willing to pay their workers to deliver a product that a lot of folks want rather than making a product to soothe the minds of a small minority of coffee drinkers. I just wish that the folks calling for something trendy (and ideas created in the socialists salons and think-tanks) like "fair trade" should do a little more studying about these various issues and the negative impact on the people that these decision impact before they jump on the band-wagon.