Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

Ever felt dumped on? Well before you think about all the classes, homework and group meetings consider the fact that a billion-dollar scam is taking place right under your nose. Oxfam, an organization whose mission to make trade fair has gained strength wants to alert the public to a global crisis. As it stands, world trade could be a powerful force in reducing global poverty, which is something most people are concerned with. Many poor countries could dig themselves out of poverty by selling their products at a decent price. So what is stopping them? Well, unfortunately, rich countries, i.e. the United States, limit and control poor countries’ share of the world market by charging high taxes on imported goods.

For example, the clothes you wear and the food you eat are bought from poor countries and sold in rich countries for much more money, yet the poor countries see none of that profit. According to maketradefair. com, rich countries dump subsidized produce on developing countries, driving down the price of local produce, causing already poor farmers to become even poorer.

Right now over 1 billion people live in poverty. If Africa, East Asia, South Asia and Latin America increased their share of world exports by just one percent, they could lift 128 million people out of poverty. In Africa alone, this one percent increase in the share of world trade would generate $70 billion – five times what the continent gets in aid, according to maketradefair.com.

Oxfam is also concerned with unjust practices in the pharmaceutical industry. According to Oxfam’s Web site, 14 million people die from treatable diseases every year. Many of these lives could be saved if cheap drugs were made available. Global trading rules oblige all countries to grant at least 20- year patents on new drugs manufactured by the transnational pharmaceutical companies. This will prevent poor countries from roducing their own cheaper equivalents of those drugs. Unfair trade has gotten the attention of several celebrities that are rallying around the cause. Most notable is Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay. Ever wonder what the symbol on Martin’s hand means? It is an equal sign that represents fair trade. Martin, Antonio Banderas, Gael Garcia Bernal and many others are using their fame to bring attention to unfair trade.

To learn more about making trade fair visit Oxfam’s Web site,www.maketradefair.com.

The site contains information on how to get involved. Participants can even write a letter to President Bush pleading to make trade fair. The site also has a store to purchase t-shirts and other items with the Make Trade Fair logo.

Just because we as Americans live in a privileged society does not mean that we should turn a blind eye to those in need. Become educated on trade laws and educate others, it is one step in making trade fair.

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