Here’s an article in The Guardian about how fair trade is what Tyler Cowen calls “in other words, a marketing gimmick.” An idea: get rid of ridiculous subsidies for American agriculture and poor countries will be able to compete.

In an ode to Carson’s post on moral intuitionism, I’d like to profess my belief in the idea that most people have made up their mind regarding the consequences of three specific well-intentioned schemes that aim to elevate the condition of the worst off in the world/country: the minimum wage, the campaign against sweatshops, and the fair trade movement. Most supporters of these three things assume that the desired aims are achieved and that any arguments against them wreak of indifference towards the plight of the poor.

Here are a few links devoted to each of the topics and suggested for anyone who has the time to read the pieces (some of them take a long time). They may not, in your eyes, be completely right. But at least they make legitimate arguments.

  • Interestingly enough, even progressive hero Paul Krugman supports sweatshops. Also, here are a good article and a short video on why sweatshops are a positive thing.
  • Paper arguing against the minimum wage for its (probable) adverse effect on low-skilled unemployment. Also briefly discusses the slim marginal benefit minimum wage has for its recipients and that egalitarians should focus more on proven effective measures like the negative earned income tax credit. There’s tons more good stuff out there on this subject (both for and against).
  • Fairtrade might not be all it’s cracked up to be. A long report. One piece. Another one. Yet another one. Fair Trade is an issue I’m a little less sure of. But I do think that people almost never acknowledge the possible downsides of it. Even if it has a positive impact or small negative impact, its possible positive effects are no match for the wonders of free trade and immigration in improving the situation of the least well off.