Ian Hussey is a PhD candidate in sociology at York University. He was the co-founding national co-ordinator of the Canadian Student Fair Trade Network from 2004 to 2008 and has been on the advisory board of United Students for Fair Trade since 2006.
Fair trade marketing and advocacy rely on the idea that fair trade increases connectedness between Global South producers and Global North consumers. But while fair trade does reduce the number of intermediaries in the supply chain as compared to the free trade system, it also serves to reinforce racist and colonial distinctions between the poor Global South farmer and the benevolent Global North consumer. While it may channel slightly more income into agricultural communities, it ultimately fails to address the colonial capitalist structures that produce the impoverishment of farmers on an ongoing basis.