Oxford University Press, USA
The Politics of Fair Trade argues that fair trade is more than just labels on specialty coffee products. Nor is fair trade just protectionism in disguise. Rather, fair trade is opposition to unrestricted trade based on sincere concerns about environmental and labor conditions abroad. Fair traders are not trying to protect jobs or the economy at home, but do not want to see workers exploited and the environment degraded in their trading partners. Academics and policymakers are ill equipped to deal with fair trade concerns because they wrongly assume trade preferences run along a single dimension from free trade to protection. This book introduces a multidimensional theory of trade policy preferences, arguing that people can oppose trade for different and unrelated reasons. The book then demonstrates, using public opinion data in the U.S. and EU and Congressional voting data in the U.S., that fair traders are sincere and not simply protectionists. The book demonstrates why fair trade poses a threat to free trade and argues that free traders should include stronger and enforceable labor and environmental standards in trade agreements in order to win the support of fair traders. Doing so will enable free trade to continue while also helping to improve conditions in developing countries, satisfying the concerns of both free traders and fair traders.