In an earlier news item we saw that the global recession has hit the demand for organic produce. The same is not true for Fairtrade products as a global survey published on 17/4/09 shows (see). Awareness of Fairtrade products continues to grow as do sales. The articles below look at the findings of this survey and at the explanations behind it.
UK: Fairtrade Flows Against Economic Tide Namnews (20/4/09)
The government must act on fair trade now Public Service Review: International Development Issue 13 (20/4/09)
Fairtrade a hit with shoppers as demand rises despite credit crunch Glasgow Daily Record (17/4/09)
Link to short videos from the Fairtrade Foundation; Link to facts and figures on Fairtrade Fairtrade Foundation
- Consider the reasons why Fairtrade sales have increased while sales of organic produce have declined.
- Does purchasing Fairtrade products mean that consumers are not seeking to maximise their consumer surplus?
- What economic challenges face Fairtrade producers? How should governments help the Fairtrade movement?
- Is the liberalisation of trade in the interests of Fairtrade producers?
The World Economic Forum has warned that 2009 may see a ‘hard landing’ for China. In the context of China, this does not necessarily mean a recession, but the WEF report does identify a significant possible slowdown in Chinese growth. Given that high growth in China has led to a high level of demand for imports from other countries, especailly for raw materials and semi-finished goods, any slowdown in Chinese economic growth may have significant repercussions in the rest of the world. Any hopes that China and the emerging economies may help the rest of the world through their recessions have been dashed by data showing that even exports from China have been falling in October and November 2008 by 2.2% and 2.8% respectively. This has meant that aggregate demand in China is falling and may cause further problems, not only for China, but for the whole world economy.
China slowdown ‘big global risk’ BBC News Online (13/1/09)
China’s exports in record decline BBC News Online (13/1/09)
China’s exports slump in sharpest decline in decade Times Online (13/1/09)
World Economic Forum highlights Chinese slump as biggest risk to global economy Telegraph (14/1/09)
Chinese exports fall by the biggest margin in a decade Telegraph (14/1/09)
- Explain the significance of the fall in Chinese exports for the Chinese economy.
- Analyse the principal causes of the fall in the level of Chinese exports.
- Assess how the changes in China’s trade position will affect the exchange rate of the Chinese currency, the yuan.
- Discuss policies that the Chinese government can implement to try to minimise the impact of the fall in exports on economic growth.
The November 2008 trade statistics have just been released and they show that the UK had the largest nominal trade deficit on record at £8.3 billion (up from 7.6 billion in October). This represents nearly 7 per cent of GDP, the highest since 1974.
Trade gap widens despite pound’s slump Independent (14/1/09)
UK trade deficit hits a record as weak pound fails to help Telegraph (13/1/09)
Britain’s trade deficit widens to new record Guardian (13/1/09)
UK Trade, November 2008 National Statistics (13/1/09)
- Why has the UK’s trade gap widened?
- How can the concepts of income and price elasticity of demand be used in analysing the causes of the widening deficit?
- Explain how these elasticity values are likely to differ in the short and long run.
- Explain the factors that will determine whether the trade gap will widen or narrow over the coming months.
“10 million children die each year from preventable, poverty-related diseases; there are 1.4 billion people in the world surviving on less than $1.25 a day; and more than 70 million primary school-age children are out of school”. The Millennium Development Goals were targets set by the developed world to try to improve this situation by 2015. However, although world leaders met in September 2008 to renew their commitments to meeting these goals, the financial crisis has drawn attention away from these issues and focused most governments on narrower, domestic goals.
Women are key to fighting poverty BBC News Online (23/9/08)
A stagnant promise Guardian (24/9/08)
- Summarise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the progress that has been achieved towards meeting them.
- Assess the policies that have been adopted by developed countries to try to achieve the MDGs. Are they the most appropriate way to achieve these ends?
- Discuss whether the financial crisis has made it more difficult to achieve the targets set out by the MDGs.
A significant illegal trade in ‘e-waste’ has developed with thousands of discarded computers arriving every day in the ports of West Africa. Once there, children are often used to dismantle them and extract metals . However, this has resulted in huge toxic dumps and serious health problems for resident in the surrounding area.
Breeding toxins from dead PCs Guardian (6/5/08)
||Identify the principal external costs resulting from this illegal trade in e-waste.
||Using diagrams as appropriate, show the impact of this market failure on the market for new computers.
||Evaluate two policies that the international community could adopt to reduce this illegal trade in e-waste.