Consumer Retorts: Fair Trade Coffee

Is fair trade coffee really fair to the farmer?

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CONSUMER RETORTS

Fair Trade Coffee

Is it really fair to the farmer?

fair trade coffee costs more because its farmers are paid more, right? Yes, a little. Fair trade pays farmers either the world market price, plus an extra 10 cents per pound—or, when the market price falls below a certain point, a minimum price. Between 2001 and 2007, the market price for a pound of Arabica never rose above $1.25, so the fair trade minimum wage of $1.20 per pound worked. But in recent years, the price reached $1.60, while fair trade upped its minimum only to $1.25. The raise resembles “an economy where everybody’s paid $15 an hour and they raise the minimum wage from $4.50 to $5.50,” said TransFair usa spokesman Anthony Marek. “It’s like an insurance policy.” But in practice, when the volatile prices of Arabica nose-dive, as they did in 2008 from $1.59 to $1.25, the superlow “insurance policy” of $1.25 leaves farmers in for a rude awakening.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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