No, it isn’t. But that’s what the headline suggests at the top of this blog entry
The post and the comments which follow are interesting, particularly with regard to property rights in developing countries. But still, the headline is clearly provocative, and deliberately so.
The fair trade coffee movement is human. It seeks to do the right thing, but is still flawed in its execution.
But regardless of problems with its policing and administration, fair trade does result in improvements to the lives of small coffee growers.
And beyond that, it has a very important influence on western consumers.
It makes us aware and conscious of the impact of our buying choices. When we buy fair trade produce and products, we are making a conscious choice, based on increased awareness and the desire to do what is right.
At a time when so many of our buying and life choices are largely unconscious – that is to say, we make them without critical thinking and careful self-examination of our reasons – fair trade provides an important balance.
When people buy fair trade coffee, they not only support individuals, groups and communities in developing countries, but also raise the social consciousness of Western consumers, even if only by a fraction.
And over time, that can make a big difference, even if the number of people consistently supporting fair trade is still relatively small.
As anthropologist Margaret Meade said, "Never underestimate the ability of a small, dedicated group of people to change the world. Indeed, that's the only way it's ever happened".