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210. Bill Fishbein debates Fair Trade for All

In 1962, President Kennedy gathered Nobel laureates from across the Western Hemisphere at his residence in Washington.  He welcomed them by saying that the White House had never had before seen such a gathering of intellect, with the possible exception of the evenings when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.

Bill Fishbein may be no Thomas Jefferson, but he has managed to engage himself in a debate over Fair Trade for All that is worthy of our attention.  Why?  Partly because he has distinguished himself in the specialty coffee industry as a leader on issues of social and economic justice in the coffee trade through his pioneering work as a co-founder of Coffee Kids and his current projects with the Coffee Trust.  But mostly because of the power and integrity of his arguments, and his efforts to see both sides of the debate at a time when a balanced perspective is hard to find.Bill describes himself as a reluctant blogger.  And his comments are usually preceded or followed by some self-deprecating comment about his blogging abilities.

It is true that his comments here have been few and far between.  But they are always worth the wait and so heavy with insight that you have to read them a few times to fully digest everything he has to say.

My recent posts here on FTUSA’s decision to split from Fairtrade International and change the rules of the game for Fair Trade Certified coffee have been among the most visited since I started this blog nearly two years ago.  A few days after the post appeared, Bill published a comment that included a long and passionate argument against FT4All and some memorable turns-of-phrase.  Then two weeks later, he published another comment, equally thoughtful if not as long or passionate, reflecting on some of the potential benefits of FT4All.  His comments were simply too good and too balanced not to republish.

Follow the links below to read Bill Fishbein’s debate with himself on the merits of FT4All.

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