Magazine article New Internationalist

Fair Trade // Review

Magazine article New Internationalist

Fair Trade // Review

Article excerpt

Twopence in the pound, two cents in the dollar - that is, at best, the tiny fraction of what we pay for coffee and sugar that flows back to the plantation workers who picked the berries or cut the cane. Much the same is true of the other products that the South sells to the industrialized North. The plight of the individual peasants is matched by that of the countries they inhabit, which are up to their necks in debt. Unfair Trade', the first part of Michael Barratt Brown's admirably clear guide to a notoriously soporific subject, explains how peasants and labourers in the South are exploited all the way along the line: by the local middlepeople, moneylenders and speculators (known as coyotes in Mexico, piranhas in Peru and as sharks elsewhere); by the almighty multinationals and the operators in the international commodity markets. …

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