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Fair trade: I consume, therefore I am


Peasants against trade against customers, the others are always to blame. If politics doesn't succeed, consumers have to enforce justice for humans and animals.

"What is just and what is unjust is determined by the powerful," is how a Persian saying goes, and in fact justice is one of those terms that we wish would be inviolable. In real life, however, it depends on the country and body in which we are born, whether we are human or animal and the importance of our existence in the eyes of decision-makers and dignitaries. In short: the definition of justice rests with the powerful.

Since the food summit on February 3, food prices have been on the table again at the Federal Chancellery. After German farmers had been complaining about the price pressure that supermarkets and discounters exert for many years, the Chancellor had arranged a meeting in which Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister of Agriculture, and Peter Altmaier, Minister of Economics, also attended the German Trade Association. The aim of the meeting: the implementation of an EU directive against "unfair trading practices in the food supply chain". This is primarily about protecting food suppliers from unfair practices such as short-term cancellations of perishable products or the obligation to pay so-called advertising costs. The aim of the directive: The farmers should be able to do real work again, yes, be able to earn a fair wage.

Sabine Kray was born in Göttingen in 1984. Today she lives in Berlin, where she works as an author and translator and works as a mentor for young girls at the Neukölln Community Foundation. Her debut, "Diamanten Eddie", was released in spring 2014 at the Frankfurt publishing house. She is a guest author from "10 to 8". © http: / /

The results of the summit are unfortunately not very specific: a complaints office should be set up for farmers where they can report trade violations of the directive in question. In addition, Chancellor Merkel would like to see farmers and trade pulling together when it comes to food-related communication. The aim is to increase the population's appreciation for food. A market analysis is also intended to clarify what market share the four major players in trade (Edeka, Rewe, Schwarz Group, Aldi) currently hold. The Bundeskartellamt's last investigation was six years ago, when its share was 85 percent. Under these circumstances, the farmers should actually urgently need the protection against unfair trade practices based on the aforementioned EU directive.

Fairness is of course just another word for justice, and beyond the question of justice it can certainly be said: Food prices in Germany are appallingly low. But who is to blame? The trade, the farmers say, which in turn denies any responsibility and in the end, as is so often the case, the experts agree: it is the evil consumer who always demands lower prices from everyone involved. Which is not to be dismissed completely out of hand, because this is how capitalism works: where there is competition, prices fall, which is why the government has to counteract an escalation of these mechanisms to a certain extent. But the federal government is in a hurry to clarify: "Food must remain affordable."

And in this sentence, the actual topic behind the debate comes to light. In fact, there were times when food wasn't exactly that, namely affordable, at least when we talk about meat, avocados, prawns and tomatoes ready for consumption in winter. 60 years ago, only wealthy people could do all this, and the same was true for new clothes every month. If you had no money, you put on the siblings' clothes and often couldn't afford new ones for years. Back then, eating meat only once a week was not a question of environmental and health awareness or even lifestyle, but of financial means. And so everyone pretty much knew where he or she was, you could say that the differences between rich and poor were open.

Source: zeit

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