Made In The U.S.A.

Posts Tagged ‘Fair Trade’

Subsidized Chinese Steel

In Adventures on June 30, 2009 at 12:12 am

I’m not sure exactly how foreign governments are making it so hard for American steel producers, but I think I get the basics of it. Here’s what I know. Or at least, what I think I know.

1. One of the big steel producers at the convention last month said, “Part of the reason for the mess we’re in is China.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Fair Trade Exemption

In Adventures on April 28, 2009 at 12:34 am

My mom gave my little cousin a bracelet from Peru for her birthday. My mom must’ve picked it up on her last Latin American cruise.

As she placed it on Hanna’s wrist, she explained that the bracelet was Fair Trade–meaning that the person who made it got most of the money that it sold for.

That sounds pretty fair. Read the rest of this entry »

CNN & Congress on “Buy American”

In Resources on February 5, 2009 at 9:52 pm

“Buy American” these days refers to language in the national economic stimulus package. It seems to me that Congress is really politicizing this issue, because the concept of buying American sure seems like a no-brainer on the surface. But in truth, the consequences of a national requirement to for the government to Read the rest of this entry »

Starbucks and Fair Trade

In Edibles on January 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm

1.10.09: Stopped at Starbucks today, not only for my favorite drink (a venti iced coffee with three Splendas and half and half) but for a pound of coffee and advice. I asked about fair trade, and they pointed me to the Café Estima blend. They even ground it for me. I decided that in the world of coffee, Fair Trade certification is more valuable to the conscientious consumer than locally grown. You can buy it here.

I looked online to learn more about Fair Trade and Starbucks roasts. I can’t for the life of me figure out where the heck they roast their coffee. Based on what I’ve learned this week (if it doesn’t say MITUSA, it wasn’t) I’m wondering if they have bulk roasters in foreign lands. I’ll have to continue this investigation.

Though I didn’t learn what I wanted, I did learn this: Coffee is the second-most traded commodity (after oil) on earth.

You can’t really get either one of them efficiently MITUSA.

I also found an interesting discussion about asking for Fair Trade coffees in Starbucks. It turns out that there’s a whole movement of people who’d really like you to ask for a cup of Fair Trade the next time you’re in Starbucks, because they’ll brew one up special for you. One commenter made a great point about how and why this shift in demand would create a shift in the corporate behavior, making it easier to get Fair Trade coffees in Starbucks. It seemed to apply to buying American as well.

Why do you have to ask? Because we live in a market-driven system (for better or worse) and by demanding you affect supply. (I’ll give a nod to the fact that most of our so-called “democratic economy” is actually a command economy, but that’s for another day.) In the end, an educated consumer and demand-driven economics is the “best” solution.

I then learned that a command economy would have supplies and prices set and controlled by the government. Presumably that poster would argue that our economy is such because of government subsidies and stuff.

I guess I’m back to thinking that my coffee is made at the local Starbucks, and the ingredients are imported. I can’t help but think I’d be better served by a truly locally roasted bean. I’m definitely investigating that—as soon as I’ve spent my Starbucks bucks.


How about a nice cup of Uh Oh?

In Edibles on January 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm

1.4.09: I’ve been doing some research to head off Coffeegate before the ____ hits the ___.

Kona coffee is grown only in specific districts of the big island of Hawaii. It has “developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world.”

Great. Read the rest of this entry »