UNFAIR TRADE (2011) How Big Business Exploits the World’s Poor and Why It Doesn’t Have To
UNFAIR TRADE was longlisted for the 2012 Orwell Prize.
“Conor Woodman’s Unfair Trade is proof that economics can be both vivid and accessible. By rootling through the developing world’s sweatshops, plantations and mines he explores whether Big Business can also be Ethical Business. Read this book and you will never look at the goods in a High Street shop window in quite the same way.” (Tim Butcher, author of Blood River).
“Conor Woodman takes the dismal out of the dismal science. He’s written an Independent Travel guide to the Global economy” (Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph).
How is it that our favourite brands can import billions of pounds worth of goods from the developing world every year, and yet leave the people who produce them barely scraping a living? Is it that big business is incompatible with the eradication of poverty? And, if so, are charity and fair trade initiatives the only way forward?
In Unfair Trade Conor Woodman traces a range of products back to their source to uncover who precisely is benefitting and who is losing out. He goes diving with lobster fishermen in Nicaragua who are dying in their hundreds to keep the restaurant tables of the US well stocked. He ventures into war-torn Congo to find out what the developed world’s insatiable demand for tin means for local miners. And he risks falling foul of the authorities in Laos as he covertly visits the country’s burgeoning rubber plantations, established to supply Chinese factories that in turn supply the West with consumer goods. In the process, he tests accepted economic wisdom on the best way to create a fairer world – and suggests a simpler but potentially far more radical solution.
Unfair Trade – published by Random House.
Available now from Amazon.co.uk
THE ADVENTURE CAPITALIST (2009) aka Around the World in 80 Trades (HARDBACK)
How one economist sold his house and took trade back to basics, buying and selling real goods in the world’s oldest markets.
Economist Conor Woodman has decided to test his negotiating skills, charm and eye for a bargain against some of the world’s oldest trading cultures. He’s sold his house to finance the trip, but if his hunches are right – trading Sudanese camels for Zambian coffee, coffee for South African red wine and then off to China to buy jade with the proceeds – he’ll return six months later with a lot of money, some new tricks and a whole raft of brilliant tall tales.
“This is entertaining and enlightening stuff… As the global markets disintegrate, it becomes readily apparent that what Woodman is really trying to do is earn a living, with the emphasis on the living… perhaps the most fascinating conclusion he reaches is that the world is not dominated by big business in the way he believed and perhaps the most satisfying way to make a living is to buy, trade and sell a product, making connections and partners along the way that can be relied on to maintain a livelihood in the future. This is a sobering and reassuring thought at a time when business has never looked so morally bankrupt” Irish Times
Buy the ‘Adventure Capitalist’ by Conor Woodman out now in paperback