Coffee is the second most valuable resource exported from poor and/or developing countries (Angelina Jolie's children being the first). Thus the Fair Trade model was established, which is supposed to pay coffee growers a set "fair trade" price if they meet labor and production standards. The idea was to prevent them from being exploited, but the reality is that in practice, Fair Trade just makes exploitation easier.
4Growers Are Paid Very Little for Fair Trade Coffee
The FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International) sets a floor price of $1.40 per pound of coffee, which is supposed to be a "higher than market" price, but is actually hardly more than what growers were being paid to begin with. This is like assuring an employee that she will be earning more than the $7.25 minimum wage entitles her to, and then only paying her $7.26 and a lollipop.
In many cases, growers can make three or even four times as much per pound if they don't sell within their Fair Trade contracts. This is like a Blockbuster clerk being able to earn more cash if he just takes all the videos home and charges admission to his living room.
Mauricio Duenas / Getty
"A man's gotta make a living. Horse college ain't free."