on 16 September 2001
As a shop manager new to the world of Fair Trade, I was grateful and relieved to discover that this book exists. Fair trade is a complicated and indepth ethos and this book gives insight and direction in a factual and informative way. There's no bias, no unbalanced viewpoints and it allows you to make up your own mind, whilst fully armed with the facts. It explores both sides of the coin - pointing out that not all fair trade is as perfect as it might make out. This book is a must for the modern, socially and environmentally aware shopper. It's an eye opener and a heart warmer and I could not do my job as well without it!!
on 12 February 2002
Providing basic information in a clear and consise manner, this book covers the Fair Trade process and history from simple commodities, such as coffee, to more complex, such as denim jeans. It's a little dry in places, but is fairly comprehensive for the consumer with a conscience. An interesting read.
on 1 June 2008
Sorry, but this book bitterly disappointed me. Absolutely one-sided portrait of the Fair Trade movement, almost glorifying them. Not even once does he mention any criticism (and there is, believe me).
Absolutely biased. He calls conventional trade a "beast" and sees conventional trade as a creation of a global conspiracy between "politicians, transnational corporate empires and corrupt individuals in poor countries" with the purpose to "gain a political stronghold".
The book will only give you one side of the argument! Please be aware of that.
on 28 July 2010
This book is a polemic, and there is nothing wrong with that, but the author should be honest about it, and it does not excuse the misrepresentation of basic facts and opposing arguments.
Any serious argument about trade has to deal with the concept of comparative advantage. This can be either accepted or rejected (providing argument in either case), but it cannot be ignored and it needs to be explained clearly and accurately. This is the biggest failing of this book. It does have a short section on comparative advantage, but the explanation is cursory, and the tone is sneering and supercilious. It concludes that comparative advantage is "Hard to prove, but it the right voice it [can] be made to sound pretty convincing."
This failing is followed up with a huge factual mistake. The book claims that comparative advantage was not discovered by David Ricardo but by Mrs Jane Marcet, who the book claims published her description one year before Ricardo. Ricardo is given the credit, according to this book, because Ricardo was a rich man, whereas Marcet was a woman. The facts are that Ricardo published his work in 1817, whereas Marcet published her work (Conversations on Political Economy) in 1824. Further Marcet's book was intended by Marcet as a popular exposition of existing ideas. In any case the first description of comparative advantage was in an 1815 essay by Robert Torrens. The factual mistake is bad enough, but as the rest of the book, it is delivered in a supercilious manner.
This book adds nothing to the debate, it contains serious errors, and is written in a self-righteous and superior tone. I would recommend that you don't buy it.