Incoherence: The contradiction of subsidies, aid and philanthropy

Incoherence

It’s a natural human trait to focus on celebrating the good while giving less thought to the harmful. Reconciling contradictory behaviours can be difficult, especially when good intentions are challenged by uncomfortable questions about the problems we’re trying to solve.

Two areas where this is especially true relate to foreign aid and philanthropy. The provision of both undoubtedly improve lives and lift many out of poverty. Many problems addressed by these forms of giving are highly complex and difficult to solve. Generosity is vital to developing lasting solutions.

But is it a case of giving with one hand while taking more with the other? Whether it’s through agricultural subsidies, tax regimes that favour multinationals or profiting from low wage workers, it’s useful to reflect on a simple question:

Is it better for me to give more, or take less?

Continue reading “Incoherence: The contradiction of subsidies, aid and philanthropy”

Incoherence: The contradiction of subsidies, aid and philanthropy

Lower commodity prices: Why Fairtrade really matters right now

Fairtrade

Much of the recent attention on falling commodity prices has focused on the impact of lower energy prices. However, crude oil and its refined products are not the only commodities to have seen recent price declines. Many agricultural products and precious metals – including those sold under Fairtrade certification – have experienced downward price pressure coupled with high volatility. Lower prices mean lower incomes for farmers and artisanal miners, creating a greater role for the Fairtrade premium.

Continue reading “Lower commodity prices: Why Fairtrade really matters right now”

Lower commodity prices: Why Fairtrade really matters right now