ISBN: 978-0-745-68590-8 October 2014 Polity 208 Pages
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But who is responsible for such vast inequality? Many analysts point to the coffee market itself, its price volatility and corporate oligarchy, and seek to "correct" it through fair trade, organic and sustainable coffee, corporate social responsibility, and a number of market-driven projects. The result has been widespread acceptance that the "market" is both the cause of underdevelopment and its potential solution.
Against this consensus, Gavin Fridell provocatively argues that state action, both good and bad, has been and continues to be central to the everyday operations of the coffee industry, even in today’s world of "free trade". Combining rich history with an incisive analysis of key factors shaping the coffee business, Fridell challenges the notion that injustice in the industry can be solved "one sip at a time" - as ethical trade promoters put it. Instead, he points to the centrality of coffee statecraft both for preserving the status quo and for initiating meaningful changes to the coffee industry in the future.
Table of contents
2. Making Coffee
3. Pro-Poor Regulation
4. Coffee Unleashed?
5. Fair Trade and Corporate Power
6. Coffee and the Non-Developmental State
Steven Topik, University of California Irvine
Your morning cup of coffee will never smell the same after reading this book. Henceforth the scent of exploitation, colonialism and environmental destruction will follow it everywhere. Offering a richly grounded critical and historical analysis, Gavin Fridell lays bare the web of myths surrounding this quintessential global commodity. Coffee will be essential reading for those interested in the political economy of land, food and the realities of fair trade Ð and indispensable for those concerned about social justice today.
David McNally, York University, Toronto
Gavin Fridell provides an invaluable, beautifully written and thoroughly engaging account of the contemporary global coffee market. I would recommend this work widely, not just for those interested in any aspect of the coffee economy but also for those interested in contemporary changes to the global economy or agrarian commodities.