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In the rapidly-expanding alternative trade movement known as fair trade, consumers in more developed regions of the globe subsidize the livelihoods of small-scale, marginalized farmers in poor countries by paying a premium for their goods. This new and more direct ethical relationships between rich consumers and poor producers contributes to the social, economic, and community development of fair trade growers. Fair trade has been characterized as “working in the market but not of it.” The multi-million dollar fair trade market has become serious business; it is now defined by its moves into mainstream retailers as much as by its alternative economic model, new markets, and novel development opportunities for third world farmers.

Begun in the 1970s with the importation of handicrafts, fair trade was developed by ...

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