The Effect of Coffee on Globalization

Topics: Coffee, Fair trade, Starbucks Pages: 3 (1188 words) Published: November 29, 2006
The production of coffee is a process affected many people in the world today. Not only are the drinkers of the coffee affecting their own health, but the choice they make is also determining the quantity of goods purchased by Starbucks at the next trade time. If no one buys a particular brand, Starbucks will not purchase it. Consequently, the South American farmers exporting that particular type of coffee will not have any profit and will be unable to feed their families, plant new crop, or buy any materials to improve their overall quality of life. These poor farmers are excellent examples of the tragedy that occurs when coffee is exported and sent through numerous funnels before the consumer enjoys the delicious beverage.

The awful dependency of the foreign coffee market is based on market price. The problem with free trade isn't with the end price for Americans—for some reason, consumers are happy to pay the $5 per cup at Starbucks. The problem lies at the beginning of the market chain. The farmers who pick the product are left out of the prosperity that coffee production brings. "For every pound of coffee sold in the United States - which can vary from $2.69 for a 13-ounce can of Folgers to $8.49 for a one-pound bag of Starbucks beans - farmers get less than 35 cents and coffee pickers less than 14 cents, according to industry statistics" (Neuffer). These statistics are only assuming that the farmers are lucky enough to have their product bought by a foreign investor. In many instances, the farmers are dependent upon the market price for their beans. If a certain region of the world were to produce a bean at a fraction of the cost, all coffee-buyers would move their purchases to the more inexpensive option. This forces these South American farmers to keep up with other farmers around the world, regardless of the price. Situations like this contribute to the atrocious underdevelopment of these countries. As Americans, we have grown accustomed to the free...

Cited: Neuffer, Elizabeth. The Shadow of Globalization: The coffee connection." Boston Globe 29 July 2001 .
Lee, Frank. "Testimony on Coffee." 07 July 2002. United States Department of Agriculture. 12 Nov 2006 .
"Fair Trade Coffee." The Global Economy. 01 Apr 2005. Global Exchange. 12 Nov 2006 .
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