Thursday, September 07, 2006

Of Walmart and Fair Trade Coffee...

*Warning : This article is truly lacking in any facts and figures, and is only based on opinion columns!*

I read this column on the local newspaper here about
fair trade coffee (the post titled Stolen Childhoods).

And it got me thinking. The whole article is about how you need a certain number of people ( and really that means big businesses ) to be buying fair trade coffee in order for it to help the poor farmer. The point being that there are still poor farmers who are not a part of the fair trade market and by buying fair trade coffee we might be actually worsening their situation.

In the same vain, somebody complained about how they thought Walmart was bad because they sold goods made by poor labourers who were underpaid. And that Walmart was making money in bargain. But here is my thought, when I buy Made in India goods, they are priced closer to what they would be priced in India (which means that the labourers aren't gettingshortchanged directly by Walmart). And to me its better than a 2 dollar duppatta sold in the name of scarf for 40 dollars in that is looting in broad daylight!

Leave that apart. My impression of Walmart is that, they are big, so they buy good in wholesale and thus sell everything for a lower price. Which usually means putting small businesses out of work.
But even that theory gets thrashed by this article I read in the NY times. They were talking about how lot of small businesses had been benefiting by Sam's club, which provides these businesses with all sorts of support at a much lower price.

In short, it hard to be right or wrong in this new world. Every tale has two sides to it. Perhaps that was always the case, maybe now people do a better job of putting it across.
All I know is that I can no longer can I say I am being good by drinking fair trade coffee!

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