Monday, April 9, 2012

Purpose of Fair Trade?

At this point it looks like I will have to sell dolls and their accessories ONLY to adults, not because they are pornographic, but because they May not meet CPSIA standards and I do not have the money to conduct expensive testing.

The fact is: we already Had our Industrial evolution, children chewed on lead paint, no one but major manufacturers knew what phthalates were, and now we're "post-industrial."

The Buddha, about 2500 years ago outlined what a person's duty to their parenst was. It was to provide: medical care, shelter, food, and clothing. Even in the West today these four basic elements are not always met, not only for Seniors but for children.

The Purpose of "fair trade" was and is to provide some of the poorest people in the world a chance to have these four basic needs met through the work of their own hands, and to better the lot of their children by providing education. I am Not saying "fair trade" was founded on Buddhist principles. People of many religions chose to purchase "fair trade" items because they want to help others profit from their work in Fair working conditions.

I am also not saying it's ok to poison children with lead paint or any other toxic substance.

What I Am saying are the following three things. 1. Some "fair trade" products may be quite safe and we, who might purchase them will never know. We won't know because the testing of all component parts of a product is SO expensive that neither the artisans who produce it nor the small importers who bring it to us can Afford Required testing. 2. We Had our industrial revolution. Now other countries are having theirs. It is simply a fact that quality is often sacrificed in favor of quantity and profit when any country is in the grip of major industrialization. "Fair trade" tries to combat Profit as the Only driving motive of manufacturing by working largely with rural, illiterate, ignored, and disabled groups of people. 3. I wish microfinance loans could be given to groups of "fair trade" artisans to come into CPSIA compliance, so that the artisans and their children could be as safe as our children are supposed to be under CPSIA, and we who wish to begin or continue small "fair trade" imports would not Lose our businesses. This means, of course, that the artisans in developing nations lose a part of their market share, putting them at greater risk of lack of shelter, food, education, and clothing.

I asked a friend who has relatives in Greece to see if he could contact them and find out if there was a way I could participate in helping disabled people their to sell things they had made here. They have lost many "safety net" aids since the austerity measures Greece has been forced to take to remain in the Euro Zone. Now I am wondering what Euro Zone regulations are regarding lead and phthlate content for items "appealing" to children agees 12 and under. Do they make an exception for "fair trade" items when Greek people could afford them? I'll have to try and find out what the Euro Zone reg.s are.

1 comment: