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Fair Trade and Social JusticeGlobal Ethnographies$
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Sarah Lyon and Mark Moberg

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814796207

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814796207.001.0001

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Fair Money, Fair Trade

Fair Money, Fair Trade

Tracing Alternative Consumption in a Local Currency Economy

(p.202) 9 Fair Money, Fair Trade
Fair Trade and Social Justice

Faidra Papavasiliou

NYU Press

This chapter explores alternative trade from the vantage point of consumption and its meanings by focusing on an alternative currency system in Ithaca, New York. It asks whether Ithaca's alternative currency, called HOURS, would promote a different and perhaps more equitable and sustainable economic reality, and how. The chapter first considers the role of “conventional” modern money in the production and perpetuation of the current global model of trade relations before turning to the question of how the use of an alternative kind of money may shape alternative economic relations and notions of fairness in Ithaca. It shows that the vast majority of commodities and exchanges in Ithaca remain outside the sphere of circulation of the city's HOURS system, which makes the alternative trade network an imperfect substitute for the dollar economy. It argues that the limited circulation of HOURS, despite the system's nearly twenty years of existence, is a reflection of fair trade networks that benefit a privileged minority of commodity producers.

Keywords:   alternative trade, consumption, alternative currency, Ithaca, New York, money, trade relations, commodities, HOURS system, fair trade

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