Oh noes! Ethiopian farmers only get $0.03 from each cup of Starbucks!
Posted by tim in The internet sucks! on January 2, 2007

So I caught this post on Slashdot a bit ago, about the jib-and-jab between OxFam and Starbucks.

To put it bluntly, OxFam is calling it "unfair" that the coffee farmers in Ethiopia only get $0.03 per cup of Starbucks coffee.

Here's where it pisses me off: In the OxFam video, they even claim that Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Okay, so that means that $0.03 per cup in their economy is probably more like $1.00 per cup in ours. That means that these farmers back in Ethiopia are making a pretty decent buck off the coffee that Starbucks is selling, and that [in their economy] the farmers are making a nice living from doing such business.

What's more, how does OxFam know that the Ethiopian farmers are only getting $0.03 per cup? Do they know how much coffee can be brewed from 1 pound of beans? Do they know for sure that the beans used by Starbucks are 100% Ethiopian? Do they have full access to the entire trade records, between Starbucks and the coffee suppliers?

I didn't research anything beyond watching the two videos linked to in the Slashdot post, so don't take my $0.03-versus-$1.00 claim for fact: It's not. What I do know is that a) the cost of living is completely different in Ethiopia, and b) there are far more expenses that are funded by various percentages of that "Tall Carmel Frappucino" that I paid nearly $4.00 for the other day.

Am I going to boycott Starbucks? Pfft...

Let me take this a step further: What about all these philanthropic organizations? Do you really think that UNICEF gives 100% of that money you sent to poor little Miguel? Sorry, they don't. Starbucks can't do any better, either.

If even 50% of the money you spend at Starbucks went to Ethiopia, it would cause economic turmoil so bad that the world would fall apart. It's how business works, and it's how we all survive.


they could start charging more, but apparently they dont have a problem with it as it stands.

  • Posted by macguy (Guest) on January 3, 2007 at 11:48:22PM
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