Honorable mention: Arren Amer Abo-shhaddh (AN-Najah National University)

Fair trade

Trading is the most important type of economy to any country or even any person on our planet. Western countries benefit from this type since the industrial revolution which enables the west the power of producing based on modern technology . At that time and till now, trading have taken different  three stages. The first stage was when those countries produce and control their produce at home and just sell it abroad. That was the golden time for trade in the west. At that time poverty spread across the east. So, trade was justice for the west but it wasn’t so for the east. Later, globalization and modern telecommunication took the trade to the second stage in which, producers were forced to produce and sell abroad while controlling was remained at home. Nowadays, and with equality in education, cheaper hands and cheaper resources, producers were taken again to the third stage in which truly multinational companies are moving their operations completely abroad and creating such global trading. This stage affected two different parts of the world completely differently. On one had it benefits the lowest cost countries as it allows them to spread world wild with wide possibilities to compete the highest cost countries and for them it is justice. On other hand companies in the highest cost countries are forced to move their operations to lower cost countries in order to survive as protectionism can’t compete or stand against free trade. For these countries it is not justice because it destroyed the economy of the country as it left people without work and creates many social problems.  More over, this kind of conflict and the heavy use of chemicals reflects on the environment creating large mount of pollution in the air, sea, water and land. So, trade was selfish. It was like a knife with two sharp sides, on one side, people enjoy cutting the cake they like while the second side cut their hands. However, with all the bitterness in the broken hearts I asked if Palestine finds a place in the East or the west or some where between them on our planet. I also wondered weather the Israeli-check points and delays offered free trading to the Palestinians. I think I have the right to ask, are we included in the world’s justice to spread out, share and cooperate in this competitive world?  I can’t imagine our selves being thrown as dead bodies on the coasts. I think we are alive and every day passes we become stronger swimmers as it is the only way to return back to our dearest ship after we have been dismissed out of it. Anyhow, the challenge is how to make trade fair and justice for the Whole planet? In my point of view not only productions should be globalised but also people in this world should have one standard level, same chances, real equality and same prices for all who are the real producers. In this case, we don’t’ only achieve justice and fair trade, but we replace peace instead of conflict, success and fair competition for the benefit of mankind. It’s time to accept others and not to live on the behalf of others and to translate trade into two words “give and take,” instead just as our ancestors did. So East or West, cooperation is the fairest and the best.

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4 Responses to Honorable mention: Arren Amer Abo-shhaddh (AN-Najah National University)

  1. Megan McFarland says:

    Nice work! I really like your analogy of the double-edged knife used for both joy and unintentional harm. I wonder if this can be applied similarly to trade and manufacturing in US countries. I think sometimes those who are cutting the cake, allow their hands to be numb, and ignore the pain they are causing, whether it be to themselves, others, or the environment. Sometimes people would rather stay ignorant then face the blood. What do you think?

  2. Jennifer Grosvenor says:

    Yes, to your idea to “translate trade into two words ‘give and take'” with justice and fairness. This reminds me of a protester in the US whom I heard on a radio interview saying she was for “people not profits.”

    Do you think there is a growing awareness that a “cheap” price for something may actually be very costly, to the quality of people’s lives and their environment?

    The economic model of the global marketplace doesn’t yet factor that in, unfortunately.

  3. Diane Adkin says:

    Thank you for your passionate and moving essay on fair trade. You speak from your heart, you really seem to ‘get’ fair trade. Looking ahead, do you say ‘yes we can’ (or yes we Canaan!)? What part do you want to ideally play in the fair new world? Will you choose to work for fair trade or in fair trade companies, speak for fair trade in a national or international setting, or include fair trade in your lifestyle and work in a conventional company? What is your dream?

  4. Clint Baldwin says:

    Arren,
    Thank you for your essay.
    I resonate with the substance of what you offer.
    I do have some thoughts and questions.

    Toward the beginning of your essay you define the 1st stage of trade and suggest that it offered justice for the west, but not the east.
    While I think I understand what you mean, perhaps it might be better to write that it offered the west “gain” — economic, political, social, etc. I don’t think it is accurate to suggest that it offered the west justice…it might have seemed to the west that their way was somehow “just,” but true justice is never obtained at the expense of others. The above comment applies also to a number of other similar references to “justice” in your essay. As Martin Luther King Jr. from the United States said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    Later, you write, “protectionism can’t stand or compete against free trade.” Yet, I see that it this is exactly what happens around the world on a daily ongoing basis. Countries utilize various forms of protectionism to solidify their gains and to better “protect” themselves against economic/political encroachment by other “weaker” countries. Unfortunately, it seems that protectionism has proven to be a very powerful weapon.
    Or do you simply mean that “protectionism can’t stand or compete against free trade” in the sense that free trade is simply a more ethical system of social engagement over protectionism?

    However, to even this last piece I would suggest that no trade is “free.” There is freer trade and less free trade. We are always already encumbered in webs of interrelationality which exact costs from us and for which we exact costs from others. Yet, just because I do not think that there is such a thing as completely free trade in the deepest philosophical sense does not mean that I do not think that there are better and worse forms of trade. I think fair trade moves well toward justice rather than toward injustice.

    Later you write, “Anyhow, the challenge is how to make trade fair and justice for the Whole planet?” I wholeheartedly agree. I too think that this is a major question.

    Finally, toward the end of your essay, you write something which I again resonated with, but which I would also like to offer a suggestion concerning it. You talked about getting rid of conflict and replacing it with peace. However, I think that we will never eradicate conflict — but we can transform it. That is, we can take conflict and instead of trying to use coercion (forcing people against their will by constraining them through circumstance) we can instead focus on finding areas of cooperation (you also suggest cooperation is a goal to search for and live into).
    Conflict is inevitable, how it is dealt with — coercively or cooperatively — will determine what path you will walk and what person you will become.

    How do you see yourself cooperating your way through conflict as concerns fair trade rather than coercing your way through conflict?

    It is this cooperative form of conflict transformation which leads to justice in the truer sense rather than just the illusory sense of justice which is actually an euphemism for “gain at the expense of others.”

    Thanks again for your essay.

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