Don’t Buy Cheap Chocolate or Coffee

Seth Godin just warned us about buying cheap chocolate for Halloween.

It’s the same economic principles and outcomes buying cheap coffee.

These tend to become commodities.

World markets drive down the price of beans. Add the presence of a few “middle men”, and the farmer’s profits plummet. They become so indebted to the banks that they are almost indentured servants. To survive, they hire children to work the fields.

Farm workers eke out a subsistence living. Not able to afford extra children, they sell their daughters into the sex trade.

It’s a cycle of despair caused by our appetite for the cheapest (and not best quality) chocolate and coffee.

Buy better chocolates and coffees from direct trade sources.

I know a farmer in Thailand who brought 72 women back home from the Bangkok sex trade when he started selling coffee directly to a US roaster and earned a fair return on his product.

I met a farmer from Nicaragua who saved himself from dependency on the bankers and paid all his workers a living wage by selling coffee directly to a US roaster.

Don’t stuff your face with cheap chocolate this Halloween. Eat higher quality direct-trade chocolate. Give yourself a treat and help a farm family survive.

Sustainable economics is also a spiritual discipline.

2 Responses to “Don’t Buy Cheap Chocolate or Coffee”

  1. Emily Wilson Says:

    Thank you for this information. I will surely be more careful when buying coffee from now on. As for chocolate, I just always buy Hershey’s so I hope it is still produced here in the US.

    • Gary Mintchell Says:

      Hershey still manufactures candy in Pennsylvania. I used to know a number of engineers there. However, where it obtains cocoa is another matter. It’s not as cheaply made as much of the Halloween (and Easter) chocolates you’ll see.

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