Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Unfair Trade

Now that the Council meeting is finished and because Mr Higham has asked, my reasons for being against 'Fair' Trade:

Free trade is the removal of artificial barriers to trade made by governments that have inefficient and/or over-regulated industry. This means that French farmers (who are more inefficient than any British farmer and infinitely more inefficient than any New Zealand farmer) can continue to beat the prices of Mauritius, Nigeria or St Lucia.

Fair trade means that those lucky few who get themselves involved in a cartel can sell their products for a marginally higher price which, at least in theory, gives them dignity. What it means in reality is that a majority of food growers now must compete not only with CAP and US assisted first world producers but also cartel members.

And those in the cartel get only marginally more than they ought to (because the system is clunky) while their goods cost a lot, lot more.

It is, like many socialist ideas, good in intention but cruel and counterproductive in practice.