"The fair trade movement claims that the products it provides are sourced “justly” and that purchasing fair trade products brings economic benefits for the poor. Whilst it is clear that fair trade might bring some benefits to particular groups, whether it brings significant net benefits to the poor in general is questionable. Moreover, the claim that fair trade transactions are more “just” cannot be substantiated. Customers also might be surprised to learn that the majority of the Fairtrade Foundation’s income is spent on promoting its own brand."So begin Philip Booth and Linda Whetstone in the new Institute of Economic Affairs Current Controversies Paper Half a Cheer for Fair Trade. They conclude: "Fair trade may be fashionable and give people a nice warm feeling but only free trade backed up by the rule of law and the protection of private property have actually lifted entire populations out of poverty for the long term." As I said last week, it seems buying the right coffee is no longer sufficient.