May 9, 2013 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #609275
halachta bidrachav: Is it the right thing to when possible only buy items that are fair trade (google it if you don’t know what it is). In other words, one cup of coffee might cost an extra $1 or 2 but you know that the people producing it are getting fair and livable wages.May 9, 2013 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #951987akupermaParticipant
You are allowed to spend extra to benefit your friends, and it is a common form of charity to deliberately overpay, and if “fair trade” means knowingly paying more than the free market rate for goods and service, that is charity. However it is somewhat less than honest for a retailer to say “fair trade” because he negotiated a bad deal, and are stiffing the consumers with higher prices in the hope they won’t switch to a more efficient, and therefore less expensive, competitor. Often the extra money coming out of consumers’ pockets under the guise of fair trade is going to someone other than the “poor” farmers (such as to rich landlords, corporate executives, government officials, etc.).May 9, 2013 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #951988
In other words, if you know someone is being paid $7.25 an hour for making a shoe selling for $100 would you sooner buy from someone who paid the person perhaps $20 an hour and the shoe would cost $110.May 9, 2013 8:30 pm at 8:30 pm #951989
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Bava Basra 90AMay 9, 2013 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm #951990
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How does that have anything to do with what I am saying?
You quoted a gemarah that says someone who buys and sells for the same amount with no profit is not called a merchant.
That has nothing to do whatsoever with what I said. In my case, the merchant will make a profit and charge a little more to support fair wages, perhaps a little less profit also, but he obviously makes a profit. That gemerah is anything is against capitalism as it says profit cannot exceed 1/6th.May 10, 2013 1:14 pm at 1:14 pm #951991
That gemerah is anything is against capitalism as it says profit cannot exceed 1/6th.
Exactly. The workers would not work (even without free trade) if they were not making money. By the fact that they do work means it is worth their while. If you want to give them extra, Kol HaKavod, but why should you?May 10, 2013 2:47 pm at 2:47 pm #951992yytzParticipant
Many workers in developing countries are crushingly poor, malnourished, and have virtually no access to medical care or education. This poverty and deprivation causes great suffering.
Many workers producing some of the staples of the Western diet — coffee, tea, chocolate and bananas (the main fair trade products) — are desperate and have no other options, so they will work all day for just enough wages to survive. As long as the workers do their job and don’t die, the corporations selling these staples profit. Since they can pay them so little, they do, because that makes them a larger profit.
Besides paying them more, fair trade companies and certification agencies monitor the farms for human rights abuses, and invest in their communities in various ways to improve their lives.
The human rights aspect is significant, because in the chocolate industry especially, child slavery is rampant. Farmers kidnap poor rural children, take them across the country, and force them to work on chocolate farms for years for no pay. This horrifying practice is widespread and very well documented (there’s an interesting documentary about it that you can watch online for free). Fair trade ensures that when you buy a bar of chocolate, you are not supporting slavery.
Fair trade is a very small slice of the marketplace, and overall it is probably not a very effective strategy for solving the problems of poor people in developing countries. However, it does improve the lives of the workers directly involved.
I would say it is not required, but it is praiseworthy and an act of chesed to buy fair trade. But it would be even more praiseworthy to work towards more permanent international or country-wide solutions to these problems.May 10, 2013 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm #951993
Mistama if you can make sure that the Aino Yehudim you do business with are not Over the sheva Mitzos Beni Noach (Kigoyn Gezel Adam), that would be a positive.May 10, 2013 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm #951994yytzParticipant
Well, that’s related to what I’m saying. One of the Noahide commandments is not to steal, and kidnapping children and making them slaves surely is prohibited under that mitzvah.
It is also a Noahide mitzvah to set up just courts. That is one of the main things missing in many of the countries — efficient, non-corrupt legal systems that create law and order, prevent people from abusing the poor, and set the stage for a secure, orderly and prosperous society. We should help them with this.May 10, 2013 5:04 pm at 5:04 pm #951995
“Many workers producing some of the staples of the Western diet — coffee, tea, chocolate and bananas (the main fair trade products) — are desperate and have no other options, so they will work all day for just enough wages to survive. As long as the workers do their job and don’t die, the corporations selling these staples profit. Since they can pay them so little, they do, because that makes them a larger profit….I would say it is not required, but it is praiseworthy and an act of chesed to buy fair trade.”
I completely agree.
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