Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Artistic Oppression Alive and Well in Zimbabwe

I am sick of so – called artists, particularly Tracey Emin who drone on about how their “art” isn’t appreciated in this country. Ms Emin has often repeatedly threatened to leave UK shores for France where she feels her artistic merit would be far more valued. Apparently British people do not appreciate the statement she has made with classics such as “My Bed” or “Everyone I have Ever Slept With 1963-1995”. Ms Emin should really consider the situation of the recent arrest of Zimbabwean artist Owen Maseko and Voti Thebe, manager of the Bulawayo National Arts Gallery on three charges under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

The gallery had just opened an exhibition marking the 27th anniversary of the masscare of the Ndbele people by Robert Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Continuing The Great Fair Trade Debate

After the ideological fisticuffs between the fair trade proponent and champion of liberalised trade it was time for the businesses and the politicians to have their say (click here to read about how that debate panned out).

The debate on the issue of consumer choice and its benefits for the Developing World saw one argument that fair trade restricts free trade which disadvantages other farmers and that fewer restrictions on trade will help developing countries rise out of poverty. However free trade should also include fair trade encouraging businesses and the shopping public to purchase responsibly.

For Starbucks, the coffee house giant whose products are sourced from practically every country within the developing world the question from BBC’s Justin Rowlatt was simple; why it has taken so long for Starbucks to switch to Fair Trade considering it is such a powerful consumer tool.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Great Fair Trade Debate

As consumers increasingly choose ethically sourced brands from developing countries one wonders whether that choice has any impact on producers in those countries.

The popularity of Fair Trade products has seen some big brand names vying to be stamped with the instantly recognisable yin yang style blue and green mark. However the increasing demand for Fair Trade goods has created polarisation equalled only by the climate change debate. So does the consumer’s choice benefit the developing countries that source our favourite food and beverages? One of the country’s top political magazines New Statesman decided to team up with Starbucks and host a Question Time style debate. Free tickets were offered to New Statesman readers via its website.