Blog author: jballor
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
By

S.T. Karnick at Signs of the Times passes along the words of Dr. Sean Gabb, an English Libertarian author, on the debate about fair trade, which is driven in large part by Christian groups (see Acton Commentaries here and here). Dr. Gabb contends, contrary to the claims of the ecumenical movement, that

“To call the actually existing order liberal—or ‘neo-liberal’—is as taxonomically accurate as calling the old Soviet Communist Party syndicalist. That order is based on tariffs, subsidies and a web of other often invisible regulations. The international institutions are a projection of Western states. The multinational corporations are creatures of these states. They shelter behind the privilege of limited liability. They get their political friends to cartelise markets, and do favours in return.”

“This is not market liberalism. It is a fraud played on us all by our ruling classes—these being those politicians, bureaucrats, educators, lawyers and media and business people who derive wealth, power and status from an enlarged and activist state.”

As a result, Gabb does not support the current free trade system, although it is far better than the presently offered alternative, so-called fair trade. “But give me a straight choice between this and the economics of the jungle that is fair trade,” he said, “and I will choose the present system. Global corporatism may be unfair. But it does at least allow some wealth to be created. It does allow at least some rational economic calculation. Fair trade simply gives even more power to politicians and bureaucrats and favoured business interests in poor countries—that is, to the very people and interests that made and have kept these countries poor.”


  • http://blog.acton.org/index.html?/archives/443-Fair-Trade-Goes-Bananas.html Acton Institute PowerBlog

    You may have heard of “fair trade,” one of the more recent economically-myopic efforts to act as “guarantees that farmers and farmworkers receive a fair price for their labor.”

    I’ve written before about the fair trade coff