Towards a New Position in Fair Trade: From “In or Against” to “Existing Together and In Order to Change” the Market

  • Abstract:

    The “in or against” the market debate is one of the oldest in the Fair Trade literature. In this paper, I aim to present a novel perspective which sees the most prominent part of the Fair Trade movement – the Fairtrade system, as “existing together with and in order to change the market”. In order to argument my position, I will firstly put forward the debate regarding two critiques of the Fairtrade system – neoliberal and radical, explaining why I see them as too exclusive. Secondly, I will discuss the question of inherent need of big agrofood businesses to grow, the process of Fairtrade mainstreaming, the relational nature of Fairtrade global value chains, and finally, I will identify the contemporary free vs. fair trade debate as a false one. These discussions will be presented in order to show that the Fairtrade system co-exists with and constantly strives to initiate evolution of the very market in which it operates.