Category Archives: society

Why child labor is good

There is nothing wrong with child labor per se. Think about it: why would there be? The answers people usually think of investments that are exclusive to what people in the developed countries can afford, for example prolonged studies to build up expertise. Something a starving nation can ill afford.

KISS: Keep It Situational, Stupid

The question is about what’s better for your family in different situations. Most Western people take an obnoxious stance that we know what is better for all family everywhere around the world regardless of the fact that our actions cause them to starve to death. No parent wants anything but the best for their children, but the egoistic Westerners believe that they’re somehow standing on a higher moral ground and they need to force empathy down the throats of the parents in developed countries.

In a certain situation, it indeed is better for your child to not to work before a higher age — in most all situations when affordable. The campaigns in the West to stop child labor in developing economies are, however, targeted against the poorest of people who are faced with a choice to either starve or start working around the age of 10. They’re not slaves, forced to work in conditions we find unacceptable for ourselves because we have so many better options. Instead they are exercising their ability to choose the best from all available options available to them.

Unintentional oppressors

Acts towards putting an end to ‘sweatshops’ are acts towards worsening the economic situation of the people who currently work at the ‘sweatshops’. That can be literally a mortal blow for some of the kids while also harming the whole of their society as a whole. ‘Sweatshops’ are better than what was the best available thing in developed countries 100 years ago. They’re a step on the economic ladder towards a higher standard of living, away from the verge of starvation. Anyone who is unconditionally against child labor is thus an oppressor, but hopefully only out of lack of information.

It’s mystifying that the above and several other points that Tim Harford illustrated so masterfully in his The Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life aren’t taught in elementary school to everyone in the developed countries.

The parents know what’s best for their children better than most of us pale-skinned foreigners do.

A call to action

If you can’t make the world a better place by boycotting companies employing people in poor working conditions, there must be something you can do instead. Because boycotting child labor and sweatshops is bad, one of the best things to do is to put an end to the boycotts. The boycotts are born out of misinformation or lack of information, and the best cure to that is information.

Please tell in the comments below where you’ve spread the word by sharing this article.


Posted by on 13.07.2012 in society

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Fair Trade – A rip-off or not?

Fair Trade organizations around the world have been criticized for being a rip-off exploiting the kindness of people. We found out, what’s the situation in 2012 in Finland.

Statistics revealed

During 2011 Finns spent 100 million euros in total in products under the Finnish Fair Trade brand, Reilu Kauppa. Reilu Kauppa reports having paid roughly one million euros of “Fair Trade extra” to the developing countries. In other words, one percent of the total price of the product has been paid for the the stated purpose.

One percent is an alarmingly low amount. The good news is that the percentage of the whole price of the product is not the most relevant issue. The key thing is how big a portion of the increase in price caused by the Fair Trade label goes to charity.

The Fair Trade portion of the price

Our own recollection was that 20 % of the price of a product carrying the Fair Trade label would be because of the label. If this was correct, only 5 % of the extra price paid by the consumer would reach its destination. 95 % would vanish somewhere along the way.

To find out the actual numbers, we decided to compare the prices of the most common Fair Trade product: bananas. A series of visits into the supermarkets in Helsinki center proved, that the recollection wasn’t far from the truth.

At its highest, 8 % of the price increase caused by the Fair Trade label went to charity. At its lowest, only slightly over one percent. In the latter case part of the increase in price was due to the organic production methods.

Where has your money gone

If you bought a hundred euros worth of Fair Trade bananas in Finland in 2011, you funded the activity of Fair Trade by approximately 13 to 16 euros. Of this 12 to 15 euros Fair Trade and other organizations kept themselves. One euro they paid to the developing countries.

More in terms of charity can be achieved by avoiding Fair Trade products and donating the saved money to charity.


The paid leaflet “Hyviä Uutisia! – Reilun kaupan äänenkannattaja” (Good News! – The fair trade proponent), Metro newspaper 7.5.2012

Prices were verified by in-store visits on 8.5.2012.


Posted by on 09.05.2012 in society

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Reilu Kauppa – rahastusta vai ei?

Reilun Kaupan organisaatioita ympäri maailman on kritisoitu ihmisten hyväntahtoisuudella rahastamisesta. Selvitimme, pitääkö väite paikkansa Suomessa.

An English version of this article will be added shortly.

Tilastot julki

Vuonna 2011 suomalaiset käyttivät 100 miljoonaa euroa Reilu Kauppa -merkkisiin tuotteisiin. Reilun kaupan lisiä maksettiin kehitysmaihin noin miljoona euroa. Koko Reilun Kaupan tuotteiden ostossummasta on siis mennyt tarkoitukseensa yksi prosentti.

Hälyttävän vähän. Onneksi osuus kokonaishinnasta ei kuitenkaan ole oleellisinta. Merkittävintä on se, paljonko Reilun Kaupan tuotteen hintalisästä menee hyväntekeväisyyteen.

Reilun Kaupan osuus hinnasta

Muistikuva sanoo, että Reilun Kaupan merkillä varustetun tuotteen hinnasta 20 % tulisi tuotemerkistä. Mikäli tämä pitäisi paikkansa, kuluttajan maksamasta lisähinnasta vain 5 % menisi tarkoitukseensa. 95 % jäisi matkan varrelle.

Asia päätettiin varmistaa vertailemalla yleisimmän Reilun Kaupan tuotteen, banaanien, hintoja. Kierros Helsingin keskustan kaupoissa osoitti, että muistikuva ei ollut kaukana totuudesta.

Reilun Kaupan tuomasta hintalisästä enimmillään 8 % meni hyväntekeväisyyteen. Alimmillaan hintalisästä meni eteenpäin vain runsas prosentti. Tällöin osa hintalisästä johtui luomuviljelystä.

Mihin rahasi menivätkään

Mikäli ostit vuoden 2011 aikana sadalla eurolla Reilun Kaupan banaaneja, rahoitit Reilun Kaupan toimintaa noin 13-16 eurolla. Tästä 12-15 euroa Reilu Kauppa ja muut läntiset organisaatiot pitivät itse. Yhden euron he maksoivat kehitysmaihin.

Enemmän hyvää saa aikaan välttämällä Reilun Kaupan tuotteita ja lahjoittamalla näin säästetyn summan hyväntekeväisyyteen.


Ilmoitusliite “Hyviä Uutisia! – Reilun kaupan äänenkannattaja”, Metro-uutislehti 7.5.2012

Hinnat tarkistettu paikan päällä myymälöissä 8.5.2012.


Posted by on 08.05.2012 in society

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