Buying into Fair Trade: Culture, Morality, and Consumption

Buying into Fair Trade: Culture, Morality, and Consumption

Keith R. Brown

Language: English

Pages: 199

ISBN: 0814725376

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Stamped on products from coffee to handicrafts, the term “fair trade” has quickly become one of today’s most seductive consumer buzzwords. Purportedly created through fair labor practices, or in ways that are environmentally sustainable, fair-trade products give buyers peace of mind in knowing that, in theory, how they shop can help make the world a better place. Buying into Fair Trade turns the spotlight onto this growing trend, exploring how fair-trade shoppers think about their own altruism within an increasingly global economy.
 
Using over 100 interviews with fair-trade consumers, national leaders of the movement, coffee farmers, and artisans, author Keith Brown describes both the strategies that consumers use to confront the moral contradictions involved in trying to shop ethically and the ways shopkeepers and suppliers reconcile their need to do good with the ever-present need to turn a profit. In addition to his in-depth analysis of the fair-trade market, Brown also provides a how-to chapter that outlines strategies readers can use to appear altruistic.This chapter highlights the ways that socially responsible markets have been detached from issues of morality. A fascinating account of how consumers first learn about, understand, and sometimes ignore the ethical implications of shopping, Buying into Fair Trade sheds new light on the potential for the fair trade market to reshape the world into a more socially-just place.

   Instructor's Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

see how much I buy, I don’t think you’d be inviting me.” “Oh yeah. Yeah. It doesn’t matter. You come to Puerto Rico; let us know ahead of time. It’ll take a whole day. We’ll arrange everything.” And so Joe said to himself, “Maybe I will. Should I?” I just felt stupid. It’s like, I don’t buy one hundred pounds a year. The whole interaction made Joe feel like a big-time investor. But Joe’s decision to follow up on the offer of a visit had an even more profound impact on him. The vice president of

widespread social problems throughout coffee-growing regions. The growing awareness of this coffee crisis lent credibility to fair-trade initiatives as a means to help impoverished farmers.25 Fair-trade coffee also grew because of the increase in the sale of specialty coffee. This “second wave” of coffee growth is characterized by the growth of the specialty coffee market, which is characterized by highquality arabica beans. (The first wave was marked by the mainstreaming 10 << A Taste of

negate it. To merely critique it as the creature of capitalism is therefore to ignore the practice of actual consumers. But the moralists who need to use consumption for their critique of capitalism cannot understand that for ordinary people consumption is actually the way that they confront, on a day-to-day basis, their sense of alienation.38 This sentiment was expressed best during one of my first interviews with Sarah, a fair-trade promoter and co-owner of an Independents café. Sarah

negate it. To merely critique it as the creature of capitalism is therefore to ignore the practice of actual consumers. But the moralists who need to use consumption for their critique of capitalism cannot understand that for ordinary people consumption is actually the way that they confront, on a day-to-day basis, their sense of alienation.38 This sentiment was expressed best during one of my first interviews with Sarah, a fair-trade promoter and co-owner of an Independents café. Sarah

settings. 6. Kaufman 2008; National Renewable Energy Laboratory 2011. 7. Prasad et al. 2004. 8. Conroy 2007. 164 << Notes to Chapter 4 9. “Scientists Work to Develop Environmentally Friendly Bombs” 2008. 10. Slater (2010) writes, “the critical study of consumption — as opposed to the instrumentalist orientation of marketing and business studies — barely existed except as a patrician dismissal of everyday life in the modern world. Whether in the name of elitist disdain or anti-capitalist

Download sample

Download