Since the 1990s, an unprecedented–but sometimes uneasy–alliance of activists and industry has tried to braid together business and humanitarianism under the label of “fair trade,” a system of standards aimed at injecting ethical checks into the sprawling global trade structure. Today, fair-trade branded coffees, skincare products and designer chocolates are hot commodities. But beneath the label lie ideological tensions over what “fair” means.
|By: Michelle Chen Friday February 15, 2013 2:28 pm|
|By: Michelle Chen Saturday November 19, 2011 9:00 am|
With the U.S. economy stuck in a constant rut and Europe going into a tailspin, President Obama is looking to escape to the East. While the nations of the Asian Pacific rim face strains of their own, from massive inequality to climate change, their growth rates look positively zen compared to the stagnant economies that used to run the world.
So for the past several days President Obama has been charming Asia-Pacific officialdom, hoping these “emerging” economies can prop up the West’s sagging empires.
|By: Michelle Chen Saturday September 3, 2011 5:00 pm|
At trade talks in Chicago, the Obama administration will work with other officials to develop a trade agreement that will incorporate Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Peru. Labor, environmental and human rights groups will gather in the city to warn that the structure, and guiding ideology, of the emerging trade deal could expand a model of free-marketeering that has displaced masses of workers across the globe and granted multinationals unprecedented powers to flout national and international laws.