Critically evaluate the developmental impact of fair trade as an alternative to free trade

This week we turn our attention to world trade and in particular the ‘fair trade’ movement. As we have already seen the dependency approach to development argues that the system of international exchange, or trade, works to perpetuate underdevelopment in the Global South. In contrast, the Washington Consensus argues strongly in favour of trade liberalisation as a route to development. In recent decades the ‘fair trade’ movement has grown. How much can we expect fair trade to achieve within a system of global capitalism? Has it become just another brand in the marketplace in recent years?

In-Class Film: ‘Black Gold’ (2007) by Nick Francis and Marc Francis.

Questions for discussion:

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  1. What criteria are used to determine whether trade can be considered ‘fair’?
  2. By becoming more mainstream has the fair trade movement had to compromise its original aims?

Can fair trade offer a genuine alternative to neoliberal globalisation

 

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