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Alternatives to Free Trade: Fair Trade and Beyond (tags)
The global debate around free-trade and its consequences has evolved tremendously in recent years, from tiny circles of leftist critics into a broad international protest movement. Although the movement began to bloom in response to the policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the biggest demonstrations have been in response to the now-popular "bi-lateral" free-trade agreements that economically powerful countries sign with poorer nations. Once one has become conscious of the problems created by free-trade agreements, whether they are international or regional, an immediate task presents itself: finding a feasible alternative. Yes, the trade policy advocated by most big business politicians is "free-trade," and yes, this policy has had devastating consequences for working and poor people worldwide, while filling the already-full bank accounts of the rich. But the issue of "free-trade" alone isn't sufficient to fully explain the vast social problems that plague so many countries.