The fair trade movement and concern about ethical sourcing asks consumers, all of us, to think more carefully about what we buy, and to ask hard questions about how producers behave. Air travelers who believe they are people of good will, people who embrace the Golden Rule, should ask the same question when booking a trip.
I live in one of the most romantic towns in the world, San Miguel de Allende, and I had not had a single date since I arrived 15 years ago. I arrived depressed, hoping to disappear into the life of an expat in Mexico, after closing my beloved independent bookstore in Berkeley and filing for divorce.
The systemically low prices in cocoa have drastic consequences for farmers and their families. More than 2 million children in the Ivory Coast and Ghana are being deprived of their childhoods, either working in extremely hazardous conditions or working in lieu of going to school, so that we can get our chocolate fix.
Any number of roasters may pay a decent price for coffee, visit a farm, or offer a good cup. But no matter how much direct trade coffee you buy, or fair trade coffee for that matter, we won't transform the current system that puts corporate profits first and marginalizes small-scale farmers until we become politically engaged and start supporting the democratic organizations that advocate and agitate for change from the grassroots up.
There's no reason for the US to swallow a trade deal filled with rotten rodent terms. American workers know for sure that if the scheme contains any foie gras, it'll be served on silver platters to corporations while workers are force-fed rats. America should withdraw. Congress should reject the TPP.
Protesters warned about the problems the Pacific Rim trade deal could bring to people around the world. Whether it's jobs being shipped overseas and wages being driven down in the U.S., medicine prices going through the roof, more pollution or unsafe food and products heading to our shores as a result of this bad trade deal, that wasn't enough to sway TPP negotiators.
We can afford to pay workers fairly and it is the right thing to do. We also need equal pay for equal work. Today, women, on average, still earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. It is even less for women of color -- for African-American women it's 64 cents and for Latinas it's 55 cents. This is unacceptable.