Fair Trade is an enormously popular idea in Christian and secular circles alike. Who, after all, could be against fairness? Victor V. Claar, however, raises significant economic and moral questions about both the logic and economic reasoning underlying the fair trade movement. In this monograph, Claar suggests that, for all its good intentions, fair trade may not be of particular service to the poor, especially in the developing world.
A common theme runs through Scripture and on through the history of the Church: concern for the poor. Individually and corporately, we are called to seek the welfare of the poor. Consensus on how to answer this call has varied as cultures and contexts change. As we begin the twenty-first century, a noticeable shift has occurred in the response American Christians are giving to this call.
For post-World War II America, compassionate service was achieved through large centralized organizations. Businesses and workers gave unrestricted donations to the local United Way that strategically allocated resources to nonprofit enterprises. Church members dutifully sent their contributions to a national church office to coordinate ministry on behalf of congregants. It was best to let the professionals handle it. Much has changed.