Saturday, July 24, 2004

Economics and fair trade

I've just sort of assumed the the goodness of Fair Trade practices were self-evident. But perhaps paying an equitable price for goods and the organic and sustainable practices to produce seems contrary to good ole American capitalism. Let the Invisible Hand of the almighty Market set the price, just as it does everything else!

Turns out this is has been question for a long time.

The question of the ‘just price’ is as old as Western civilization and of continuing relevance and concern to it.

In ancient Greece, Aristotle considered it;

in medieval Europe, St. Thomas Aquinas and his fellow Scholastics pondered its mysteries;

in the age of conquest, Mercantilist economists re-considered it as New World gold and plunder poured into the coffers of European kings and queens;

at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Classical economists from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill struggled to answer it;

Karl Marx re-established its moral imperative in the exploitation of labour;

at the height of the Industrial Revolution (about 1900), Alfred Marshall and the Neo-Classical School seemingly resolved it through interaction of supply and demand in a perfectly competitive marketplace;

in the pre-dawn of the Atomic Age, Keynes shifted the question from individual markets to the economy as a whole; and,

today, in a post-modern ‘knowledge-based economy’ we continue to seek an answer

here, read the rest ....

Okay, never mind, maybe you don't want to read it, it's all economic mumbo-jumbo. Suffice it to say that the question of fair trade is one that some people have Deep Thoughts about.

No comments:

Post a Comment