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Fair Trade – I’ll only buy it if it’s better quality

Today, I did an interview with Geoff White, General Manager of Trade Aid. But that’s not what today’s post is about. It’s about fair trade.

The person who arranged the interview for me gave me some chocolate. Fair trade chocolate. In fact, I believe it might have even been Trade Aid brand chocolate. Anyway, this chocolate is by far the best damn chocolate I’ve ever had.

And that made me think, why the heck do we have this “fair trade” thing. How about you put the producers on courses and stuff like that so they produce a better quality product. I would pay extra for this chocolate, but not because there was no little African children used to create it or because there was a dollar given to a producer rather than a cent, but because the stuff tastes damn good. Sure, treat the workers with respect and all, but get them to produce a quality product if you’re going to charge more!

I really must get some more of this chocolate. It’s so good.

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One comment on “Fair Trade – I’ll only buy it if it’s better quality

  1. Conditions of manufacture can quite validly be treated as a property of a product. As such, products which in their manufacture do not have the property of having been produced through exploitation are necessarily of a ‘better quality’ than those that are made through exploitation.

    Another example: If a product is manufactured in such a way that the possibility of the product being faulty is very low, whether the product that one ultimately receives is faulty itself, or not, it is of a ‘better quality’ because that particular product possesses the property of ‘having a very low possibility of being faulty’ (as well as having the property of being ‘not faulty’). And so on…

    It’s all a matter of definition and framing. Your post belies a very narrow definition of the properties of a product; a definition that excludes many actual, but intangible, properties thus framing the situation in terms of it’s relation to you, as the end consumer, only, and excluding all other relational properties. If one is to accept relational properties that are delineated by the final transaction (the movement of the product from an intermediary agent to the final consumer) there is no positive argument by which to exclude all prior transactions as they are of the same ‘type’ (when observed from a position external to the ‘chain’ of transactions, rather than from the internal position of that of the final consumer only).

    Blah, blah, blah; ontology, blah.

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