Fair trade, making, and the global economy, part 1

About 13 years ago I was a single man, a bearded 25-year-old Peter Pan with a part time job in Salt Lake City. I worked at a library, hiked and daydreamed. I daydreamed about playing in a band (I’m a drummer) and about finding romance.

In between all this, I spent some time volunteering as a clerk at a Ten Thousand Villages store in Sugarhouse.  It was an ideal gig for me at that stage of my life and I should have made more time for it: besides gratifying my altruism, I had to deal with the public in all their scary glory.  That was a challenge to my shy and retiring ways (which was why I didn’t spend more time at it.)

Years passed.  I got married, started a career, started a family, and my gaze shifted from being directly involved in the Fair Trade movement (though I still made a point to buy my chocolate fair trade when I could).  It has always remained in the back of my mind, though, and recently I’ve gotten back in the game by selling fair trade goods on ebay.

Enlisting artisans in third world countries to make decorative items for collectors in the first world, to be shipped across oceans and then back and forth across the big wide USA . . . to my perception, this is a complex question.  For the time being, I see this as a mostly good thing, a step in the right direction (though onto a path that might take some surprising turns), and so I’m doing what I can to support it.

Therefore, I’ve started pointing out specific products periodically on this blog, and will continue to do so.  I’m doing this partly because I sell them, but mostly because I like them.


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