Fair Trade- The ethical way to oppress the poor

I’ve always been suspicious of “Fair Trade” products as a simplistic way to make us feel better about eating chocolate or drinking coffee while causing more problems than they solve.

From spiked!

It’s official: Fairtrade screws over labourers

A new study exposes Fairtrade for what it is – a Western vanity project that impoverishes those it’s meant to benefit.he world’s ethical shoppers are still reeling this week after a report revealed that Fairtrade programmes are of little benefit to those working on farms in the developing world.

 

The government-funded study published by SOAS, a part of the University of London, was conducted over a four-year period in Uganda and Ethiopia. It showed that labourers on farms that are part of Fairtrade programmes are usually paid less and are subject to worse working conditions than their peers on large commercial farms, and even other small farms that are not part of Fairtrade programmes. Professor Christopher Cramer, the study’s main author, said: ‘Fairtrade has not been an effective mechanism for improving the lives of wage workers, the poorest rural people.’

The study also found that the ‘social premium’ incorporated into the price of Fairtrade products, which is meant to be used to improve infrastructure in poor communities, is often misspent. In one instance, researchers found that modern toilets built with this premium were in fact for the use of senior farm managers only. The report also documented examples of health clinics and schools set up with social-premium funds that charged fees that were too high for the labourers they were intended to benefit.

Read the full article here

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Reflection on 1 Peter 5:1-14

lion

Scripture

Discipline yourselves and keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.

Observation

Peter exhorts elders to tend their flocks willingly. They must be examples for the flock. This way when Christ returns they will win a crown of glory.

We must humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, casting all our cares and anxieties on Him.

The devil prowls around looking to devour us, but if we stay alert and resist him, God will restore, support, strengthen and establish us.

Application

It is essential to discern the habits and methods of the devil. We must not become either complacent or obsessed. We must be vigilant, however, or satan will pull us down.

Peter tells us to watch, be disciplined and resist. These activities are essential if we are to overcome the evil one.

To be disciplined means that we focus on doing the right things even when we may prefer not to- things like prayer, Bible reading and worship.

To resist means that we stand up to temptation when it comes, instead of buckling at the first opportunity.

As we learn to focus on God’s will for our lives instead of following the path of least resistance, we will find that God strengthens us and establishes us in Him.

Prayer

Father please show me how to live a life that is pleasing to you and grant me the strength to resist temptation. Amen.

Reflection on Psalm 68:1-10

89a27-psalm98praise

Let God arise

His enemies be scattered

Like smoke before the wind.

Let God’s foes disappear.

You, O God, protect the weak

You love the poor and the orphans

Let those who sneer at you

Consider the work of your hands.

O God turn your enemies to friends

Confound and convince those who oppose you

Let godless thoughts be exposed

And unholy philosophies refuted.

Reflection on Acts 1:6-14

 

ascension

Scripture

He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”

Observation

The disciples ask Jesus if He is about to restore Israel. But Jesus replies that this is not for them to know. They must wait for the Holy Spirit who will give them the power to be witnesses even to the ends of the earth.

Then Jesus is taken up to heaven. Two angels appear and tell the disciples that Jesus will return in the same way that He has left.

After this, they return to the city to the room where they are staying. There they continue to pray and wait.

Application

Jesus’ words here remind us of the danger of theological speculation. It isn’t wrong to wonder about the future kingdom, but it can distract us from the main job which if to be witnesses to Jesus under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus will return, but in the meantime there is a gospel to preach to the nations.

There is an order to this. We must first receive the Holy Spirit and then go out. No Spirit- no power.

Prayer

Holy Spirit come and fill me. Lead me to those people who need to know Jesus and speak through me.

Amen.

Jo Ellen Stevens: A Resurgence Of The Baptism Of Holy Spirit

Jo Ellen StevensThe Lord has been speaking to me that there is about to be a resurgence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in this season! He said that people are going to rise up and desire the power that they see in the early Church but that they no longer see in their denominational churches. And He said that they will have a desire for this because they are seeing that on their own they cannot be set free of the depth of darkness that their generation has taken them into.

I see this stirring in people again like never before! They are seeing their need of the power of God again in their lives. I am also hearing that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are once again going to become something that people desire and not look at as some backwoods thing that their parents and grandparents did that caused them embarrassment in the past, but they are going to remember the things that happened when Grandma prayed in tongues and God moved on her behalf! God is going to bring these things to their remembrance in this hour, and a new, deep desire for the deep things of God is about to begin stirring in their souls until they will have nothing less than all that God has for them!

The Lord has looked on these young souls and seen the poverty of their spirits and souls, and His heart is hurting to come near them so that He can heal them. So, He is beginning to place a desire in their hearts to come after that which they saw in their parents and grandparents that caused them to long to be clean. It caused them to know peace and to know that there was something in this world that was holy. So, He is putting the desire in their hearts again for the Holy Spirit! Be ready to bring them into this!

 

Read the rest of the article here

Stop Your Whining

Australians grizzling about the awful “cut to the bone” budget need to think aobut this comparison with our neighbour New Zealand.

The culmination of almost two decades of mainly populist budgets, the Abbott government will spend $6200 a person on cash welfare next year, over 25 per cent more than New Zealand’s government will on each of its citizens (converting all amounts to Australian dollars).

Education spending, at $2900 a person, is 10 per cent more generous in Australia but health expenditure is torrential by comparison: Australian state and federal governments will lavish more than $4600 a person to keep Australians alive and healthy, almost 50 per cent more than is spent in New Zealand…

Australia’s population of 23.5 million is about 5.2 times New Zealand’s, but as of June last year we had 8.4 times as many public servants…

If the federal government overnight reduced welfare, health and education spending to New Zealand levels it would be rolling in a $40 billion budget surplus next year rather than wallowing in deficit until 2018 or even later…

[Bill] English, now in his sixth year as New Zealand’s Treasurer, commendably chose not to emulate the world’s greatest treasurer Wayne Swan and kept a tight leash on public spending before and after the global financial crisis, preferring to cut income taxes and lift consumption tax. The Key government, facing election again later this year, is now reaping the rewards.

While Australia’s economy is lumbering back to trend growth, New Zealand is enjoying a boom, its economy predicted to grow 4 per cent this year and 3 per cent next without pushing up inflation. The country’s unemployment rate is projected to fall to 4.4 per cent during the next few years as ours hovers around 6 per cent.

Apart from a bloated public sector and a wellspring of whingeing, what does Australia get for its vastly more indulgent public spending? Much higher taxes, for one thing. The marginal income rate most Australians will pay from July — 34.5 per cent — will be higher even than New Zealand’s top 33 per cent rate, which makes a mockery of our 49 per cent top rate, which will be higher than China’s and France’s.

Read more here