We’ve all had a lot of fun so far eh? Well now it’s down to the hard tacks. The economics behind everything. Not so much fun perhaps but just as important. Time to get serious.

Market volatility is present in most of the agricultural products. Why is this so? Why and how to markets control things?

These are questions to think about and concepts to challenge. Tell us what you think in flash fiction form!


The Economics of Fair Trade

If you want to read more about FairTrade Fiction you can buy FairTrade Fiction Volume 1 as an ebook for Kindle or Epub or as a paperback just click the appropriate highlight. (The ebook is at the specially reduced price of 99p for the Festival and the paperback is cost price at £2.99)



  1. A CEO Accidentally Writes What He Really Thinks
    by Peter Tarnofsky,

    Communists, socialists, the lot of them. They can’t make it on their own so they expect to whine and moan till they extract some money out of those who can and who do and who will.

    I am a self-made man. I got where I am today by dint of hard work and high intelligence and limitless energy and ravenous self-motivation. Anyone could do that. Well, they could if they were as intelligent as me.

    The laws are to protect us all. I follow the law. My corporation obeys the law. My employees carefully study the law to make sure of this.

    But we follow the law that exists, not the law that lives in the heads of the carpers. We have no time for this extra layer of law that apparently only those with moral fibre can detect and decide. We cannot throw away resources on keeping up with some failed man’s idea of what constitutes the right thing to do.

    We buy from people who want to sell. No one has to sell to us. If they want to find another purchaser or even get off their backsides and set up their own distribution network then let them. Bring it on, I say. Competition is healthy, I say. If it fails then our methodology will be proven. And if it succeeds we can probably buy them out in a few years.

    And we pay the lowest price that our suppliers will accept. If they didn’t accept it, they wouldn’t sell to us. We have a duty to our shareholders to deliver the best value. It’s the only way to keep the stock price rising and the dividends coming in. Dividends come from profit and our shareholders don’t want us throwing profit away.

    I utterly refute the suggestion that my bonus is an example of throwing profit away. I need to be incentivised and properly compensated in order to deliver the best value. (Get one of the interns to find another way of saying ‘deliver the best value’ because I’ve used it twice now.)

    My tax arrangements are none of your business. It’s legal. I discussed it over lunch with the senior tax inspector and we shook hands on it. My company pays all the tax it has to pay and no more.

    Do you pay any more tax than you need to? Have you written a cheque to the government recently just because you thought they should have some more money? If not, you have no right to tell me to do the same. You’re just asking me to steal money from my shareholders – and that I will not do.

    I visit the plantations regularly. We tell them what we need and how much we can afford to pay for it and they attempt to negotiate and we tell them that we will immediately drop them if they deal with anyone else and they visibly slump in front of me. Yet they are always glad to see me and they smile and put me up in great comfort and feed me with fine food. Would they do this if they did not want to trade with us?

    There was some mention of Fair Trade at one place last year. I didn’t know those people had been sniffing around. There were some banners and some shouting and chanting. The police were very happy to help us with the agitators although I believe the whole operation was too far gone. We had to sever our ties.

    I reject the rumours about that plantation. It is not still operational. There have been no increased efficiencies. Their crop is not being traded on the international markets at the same price as ours. It is not higher quality. And my people on the ground tell me that living standards have not improved. Stories of better health-care provision and improved education must be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Even if they were selling this so-called Fair Trade product at the same price as ours, how is it better that the profit of that enterprise stays with the growers? Why should they have the money rather than our investors? What risks are they taking? Admittedly they occasionally have to deal with crop failures but these people are resilient – they are used to it.

    Think of our shareholders – working so very hard to provide pensions for an ever-increasing elderly population. Exploiting the wiggle room in the pension contracts to decrease benefits will only go so far in cutting costs – it is imperative that income increases.

    Expand or die. That is the rule of business. Those who would seek to plunder the riches of the successful say that we expand and that our workers die. They seem to think that’s funny. I think it is hideous hyperbole and utterly disrespectful to people who live full and happy lives on a low pay. If they want more pay, let them innovate. That’s what I did, with only my education, parental support and a developed country’s health, transport, legal and economic systems to support me.

    Fair Trade? Buy it if you like – but you’ll be stealing money from the pockets of investors and cutting the pay of hard workers like me – and for what? In order to give lazy farmers the easy life? That’ll be no good for them in the end.

    And if you like Peter’s writing you have the chance to try FairTrade for writers by subscribing to his new collection of short stories on Kickstarter. But hurry, you only have till March 12th to do it! He needs another £500 by Tuesday!!

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