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Oxfam's Global Reach Essay

919 words - 4 pages

OXFAM's Global Reach

"Consequences of the New Economy" was the theme for St. Olaf College's Globalization and Social Responsibility conference. The conference explored the social and economic effects of the globalization of capitalism. One of the speakers for this event was Raymond Offenheiser, a leader in international development and philanthropy, and president of OXFAM America. OXFAM America, an international nonprofit agency, is recognized for its human rights and national public education program on issues of hunger and injustice throughout the world. Offenheiser's lecture, OXFAM's Global Reach , addressed the increasing interdependence in global markets and its effects on ...view middle of the document...

These American subsides have greatly reduced world cotton prices, generating losses to African producers. Although West African cotton farmers are more efficient, low-cost producers they cannot compete with the US producers' access to huge subsidies. Consequently, the cotton price crisis is contributing to the poverty for millions of African farmers. Unfortunately, farm and trade policies do not help most small farmers in the United States either. Low world prices are quickly forcing US family farmers out of business, while large-scale, corporate agriculture benefits from government payments.

The global coffee crisis is also creating hardships for families around the world. Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries worldwide. Many of them are developing nations that depend on coffee as their main export, but their entire economies are collapsing due to plummeting coffee prices. The global coffee crisis is caused by a worldwide excess of coffee that allows coffee corporations to buy beans very cheaply. These prices are so low that they do not cover farmers' costs of production, causing poverty and starvation for hundreds of thousands of farmers and their families. For example, coffee has been one of the most important products for the Central American economy for decades. It has been very important not only for income but also for employment. The situation is especially critical in Central America for the rural coffee producers living in remote areas who depend on coffee for cash income to survive.

Currently, two policies are being proposed to correct the injustices of the world trade system: the Free Trade Agreements for Central America (CAFTA) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The CAFTA is part of an effort by the United States to expand a doctrine of free trade across the hemisphere. The FTAA is intended to extend...

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