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Fri 22 February 2008, The Daily Telegraph

The poverty of Fairtrade coffee

By Alex Singleton
“Fairtrade purports to work within the market economy but its rise has been largely based on marketing subsidies and public-sector procurement,” says Tom Clougherty, policy director of the Adam Smith Institute. Despite huge pressures on the public purse, local councils are squandering large sums becoming Fairtrade towns and cities, distributing posters and leaflets to nanny people into only buying Fairtrade. Meanwhile, the Fairtrade Foundation has received over £1.5m from the Department for International Development. It wants more. In December, reminiscent of 1970s-style industrial policy, it called for £50m of development aid to be spent as “strategic investment” on Fairtrade. Fairtrade coffee is not actually the most ethical form available Monday sees the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, the time each year when we are hectored into paying more for a cup of coffee. Charities, politicians and primary school teachers will deliver the scheme as an undisputed good. With all this effort, it is a pity Fairtrade does not work. Read more...
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