Mark Hudson and Ian Hudson



Justice, Sustainability, and the Fair Trade Movement: A Case Study of Coffee Production in Chiapas

The authors focus on the impact of economic globalization on agricultural workers in Chiapas’ coffee industry and on the environment. They argue that the rise of capitalist forms of coffee production in Chiapas has exploited workers and degraded the environment. Fair trade helps to circumvent the exploitative trading relationships of the world capitalist market by offering “fair” prices to small-scale producer groups that engage in more ecologically sustainable forms of coffee production. Thus, alternative trade means trade in which there is a concern for “just” prices, income stability, and broader social goals. It can play a practical, redistributive role in transforming economic structures and relations of exchange. The authors point to the important role consumers can play in resisting the oppression of workers under global capitalism.

“fair” or “alternative” trade, coffee producers’ cooperatives, Chiapas, Mexico, political economy, environmental sociology, sustainable development

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, No. 3 (2004): 130-146