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Fair or Balanced? The Other Side of Fair Trade in a Nicaraguan Sewing Cooperative
Josh Fisher, High Point University
ABSTRACT — This article tracks the rise and fall of the Fair Trade Zone, the first worker-owned “free trade zone” in the world. A partnership between a small development NGO and a small fair trade retailer from the US initiated the project in 1999, but a power struggle that arose between these two organizations and the worker-owners of the co-op in 2007 ultimately led to the co-op’s withdrawal. This case study reflects on the rhetorical role of the concepts of solidarity and partnership in alternative trade and development initiatives like fair trade while providing a window onto a much more heterogeneous assemblage of imperfect connections, asymmetrical power, and divergent agendas, strategies, ideologies, and ethical regimes. [Keywords: Fair trade, cooperatives, grassroots globalization, alternative development, transnational networks, gender]
Entrepreneurship in a Pickle: Innovation and Arbitrage in the Sea Cucumber Trade
Daniel Reichman, University of Rochester
ABSTRACT — Through an ethnographic analysis of an obscure commodity—the Maine sea cucumber—I explore entrepreneurship as a practice, rather than a set of attitudes. The sea cucumber trade creates a transnational network that reaches from rural Honduran villages, to Maine, to Asia. Many participants in this network might be called “entrepreneurs.” I address two key questions: What do entrepreneurs do? And, how is entrepreneurship different from other forms of capitalist activity? I locate the source of entrepreneurial agency at the systemic level, challenging the hagiographic view of the individual entrepreneur as a dynamic source of economic growth. [Keywords: Entrepreneur, arbitrage, value, immigration, fishing, Maine, Honduras]
Laying Claim to Authenticity: Anthropological Dilemmas
Introduced by Dimitrios Theodossopoulos
Volume 86, #2