Monday, April 9, 2007

Wolfville's Fair Trade Scam

Wolfville, Nova Scotia is about to become Canada's first "Fair Trade" town. I guess they care a lot about feeling good but very little about the workers negatively impacted by fair trade.

Fair trade is a scheme by rich communities to pat themselves on the back for buying higher priced goods. The theory is that products of low paying work is exploitive so if they refuse to buy from those low paying sources, the workers there somehow benefit.

The problem is, there's no proof that fair trade actually makes non fair trade employers in the third world pay employees more. When low paid workers lose their jobs because their employers move elsewhere, they actually get no pay at all. Or maybe they pay some workers more and work them harder, while firing the others. Some pay is better than no pay.

Of course, by then towns like Wolfville are long gone from the scene. And the workers? Well, as they say: out of sight, out of mind.