Half a Cheer for Fair Trade

By Philip Booth and Linda Whetstone

April 3/2007

Institute of Economic Affairs

The fair trade movement claims that the products it provides are sourced justly and that purchasing fair trade products brings economic benefits for the poor. Whilst it is clear that fair trade might bring some benefits to particular groups, whether it brings significant net benefits to the poor in general is questionable. Moreover, the claim that fair trade transactions are more just cannot be substantiated. Customers also might be surprised to learn that the majority of the Fairtrade Foundation's net income is spent on promoting its own brand.
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