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Threefolding

Culture, in order to thrive, requires freedom - not the freedom of nations, in whatever sense, but the freedom of the individual. Which of course does not imply that individuals may not form groups! Each individual must be able, however, to take a stance that separates him or her from all groups and must be able to cross cultural borders at will. In this sense, each human being is a minority of one.

And what about the global economy? Globalization is actually not the problem, but rather an opportunity which has so far been wasted. It would not be difficult to transform it into global solidarity. But unfair prices make it global irresponsibility. He who counts on the random nature of markets cheats either himself or someone else. If there are to be no losers, humans must associate themselves in such a way that together they can achieve insight into economic processes. Economics really only begins to make sense if it is understood to mean: each human being stands for all of humanity.

Cultural and economic issues aside, there exist those which do lend themselves to majority rule. These include occupational safety, consumer protection and other safety-related issues. However, he who fails to understand the limits of majority rule, whether he wishes to or not only fans the flames of future wars.

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Fair Trade - In or Against the Market ?

Matthias Schmelzer has studied one year at the University of California, Berkeley with the help of the DONATA-Foundation and the Institute for Social Threefolding and he has written a paper on Fair Trade. The main questions were:

  • Is Fair Trade a neoliberal solution to current market failures for small-scale producers in the Global South that works within the free trade regime and thus stabilizes it?
  • Or is Fair Trade a practical tool of social change, which challenges neoliberal trade practices and aims at a more general transformation of free market and free trade?

The paper is recommended for those interested in the question of how to make Fair Trade the beginning for a solidary economy. It is not enough to just aim at the extension of the Fair Trade market. Fair trade aims at lessening the destructive effects of free market capitalism. But the participation of comercial chains such as Starbucks or Lidl in Fair Trade bear the dangers of misappropriation of an emancipatory movement by interests in profit and the so called "fair-washing" of corporations.

 

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