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Fair Trade.

December 18, 2010

I rarely purchase anything beyond the necessities.  I just don’t have many materialistic desires.  This is especially good these days because I am broke for the foreseeable future.  And then some.  When I do desire to purchase something I find extra hurdles.  I just cannot desire the work I desire and go out and buy things without knowing how much the person who made these ‘things’ is actually getting paid.  Marx refers to this as surplus value: you take the cost to make the product and the selling price and the difference (usually a lot) goes into the pockets of the owners.

The problem I am finding is that enough people have caught on to certain unfairnesses, so a lot of companies are masking their low wagers and high product prices by various market gimmicks and putting on this front like they really care about certain things and are a good, charitable organization.  Well, charity starts at home.  So the very first thing should always be: what is the wages of your lowest paid, what’s average wages, and what’s CEO wages?  And then the next question should be (in terms of organizations that put up charitable fronts), how much goes to what exactly?

I also just hate being a part of consumer culture.  At least anymore than I have to be.  But it is Christmas (upcoming post similar to the Thanksgiving one making its way to a site near you) and I have two nephews and a niece.  Not like they need anything, but….well, you know.  Fortunately there’s fair trade, which makes sure the worker is getting paid a more fair wage, and Busboys and Poets has a fair trade shop (with tons of elephants!).

Doing a little research on the companies and workers behind the products (no they do not just magically appear or are hand-crafted by Santa’s elves — sorry kiddies) and using your purchasing powers wisely will help make it a nicer Christmas for all.

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