Barter and exchange have been the basis of trade over many millennia possibly since communities recognised that the division of labour resulted in greater efficiency and well being for all. We probable all accept the need for trade but Amos highlighted for us the need for fair trade. “… we can overcharge, use false measures, and fix the scales to cheat our customers. We can sell worthless wheat at a high price. We’ll find someone poor who can’t pay his debts, not even the price of a pair of sandals, and we’ll buy him as a slave. The Lord, the God of Israel, has sworn, ‘I will never forget their evil deeds.’” (Amos 8:44ff)
The Fairtrade movement has been successful in highlighting the inequalities that exist and many congregations support the movement by using and selling fairly traded commodities. Is it now time to move the argument on and tackle some of the other injustices like ‘sweatshops’ manufacturing trainers to be sold at high ‘mark-up’ in UK High Streets; or 3rd world countries that have no access to highly charged medicines and life saving drugs because of the way pharmaceutical companies market and license their products.
Southern Synod Church and Society is looking for someone to champion this area of the church’s life and the lead person would welcome comment and contact from anyone interested in learning more developing this aspect of the work.