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Subject: Fairtrade games rss

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Alex Cannon
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Does anyone know whether any games have been produced as 'Fairtrade?' I see a lot of publishers taking manufacturing to China to reduce costs, and considering the tight margins this isn't surprising.

I would be interested to see if anyone would prefer to buy Fairtrade games, and whether or not you'd be prepared to pay a bit more for this, and if so how much?

Thanks for any replies!
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Jesper Hansen
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isnt that only for grown stuff that farmers have to harvest?

Dont see how fair trade would work with plastic mini's.

For wood it seems plausible, but could just make our game alot more expensive.
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Alex Cannon
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It also applies to workers in manufacturing being paid a decent wage, as well as the materials used. You can buy Fairtrade shoes, clothes etc.
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Joe Kundlak
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I would presume german games being manufactured in Germany would apply?
Though I do not know them well enough to list any - but there must be many (given how well the eurogame scene is thriving there).
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Not really. I tend to view the fair-trade label as a marketing ploy and the evidence that something really is fairly traded is too often anecdotal and subjective.
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Alex Cannon
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Scottgun wrote:
Not really. I tend to view the fair-trade label as a marketing ploy and the evidence that something really is fairly traded is too often anecdotal and subjective.


The Fairtrade Foundation and the WFTO do a lot of work checking the product chains before they put their label on something. If it says Fair Trade without one of these labels it's probably marketing.
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Gunky Gamer
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We had a similar thread earlier this year when someone asked about slavery in game production: Slavery in game production.

I guess it would be nice if the production stream could be certified as Fairtrade or something. I think the real question is, how far down the rabbit hole can you go? Based on what I've read here in the forums, there are really only a few manufacturers of games in the world. So, if you want to improve things related to actual manufacturing, it shouldn't be that hard to investigate.

I think things are much worse further down the pipeline--the paper mills, ink manufacturing, chemical/plastics production. And as bad as those settings may be, how must things be in the lumber operations, mines, etc. where the raw materials come from? I was under the impression that this is the tier where fairtrade certification is meant to have an impact. There are industries and markets much bigger than hobbyist gamers that are downstream of these commodities and are better positioned to make a meaningful difference.

But I digress. Would I pay a bit more? Sure. Such designations definitely influence my purchase decisions of other things when I am given a choice. The problem is that with games you are not comparison shopping among like things. When I buy fairtraded coffee it is a choice over another brand of coffee. I'm not going to buy deckbuilder A just because it is fair traded when what I really want to play is area control game B.

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river tam
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The description of Leelawadee on the german crowdfunding site mentioned that the workers that produced the figures for the game were paid a fair trade/ living wage and it was a factor in me backing the game.
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Scottgun wrote:
I tend to view the fair-trade label as a marketing ploy and the evidence that something really is fairly traded is too often anecdotal and subjective.

Fair trade is most definitely a marketing ploy, but it's a righteous one. If the alternative is giving up, anecdotal and subjective don't look so bad. That said, boardgaming isn't high on the list of where fair trade could make an impact.
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Curt Carpenter
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stj007 wrote:
Trekking the National Parks: First Edition is currently on Kickstarter and is evidently made entirely in the USA. As such, it costs a bit more than I would expect. However, if it was a game I was interested in, I would be willing to back it to support decent wages.

And the implication is that games made anywhere else are the result of workers not making decent wages? A wage in China doesn't have to be considered "decent" by your standards to be considered "decent" by theirs. Just like Fair Trade doesn't mean everyone in the chain has a car, a 60" hdtv and the latest smart phone. And I hardly think taking jobs from a developing country and moving them to the richest country in the world is a good example in support of fair wages.
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LurkingMeeple wrote:
Scottgun wrote:
I tend to view the fair-trade label as a marketing ploy and the evidence that something really is fairly traded is too often anecdotal and subjective.

Fair trade is most definitely a marketing ploy, but it's a righteous one. If the alternative is giving up, anecdotal and subjective don't look so bad.


I think you are misunderstanding my objection. I meant Fair trade as a marketing ploy in the sense that someone stuck a "fair trade" label on their product but it is either downright deceptive, gave only a cursory vetting of the production process, or are applying an arbitrary definition of fairly traded another person might reasonably disagree with.
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Curt Carpenter
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stj007 wrote:
I simply insinuated that there are places in the world that may not produce good wages for their workers (following the discussion idea of the OP), and stated that I am relatively confident that workers in the United States would receive a decent wage.

But this is opposite to whole whole point of fade trade, fair wages, etc. The idea is not, "should we source our product in a place where wages are too low to live off of, or in the good ol' USofA where wages are higher?" The idea is (or should be), "how can we improve the situation for those making the things we want, but not making enough to sustain themselves?"

stj007 wrote:
I live a relatively modest life (for a 3rd world country).

I think you meant "for a 1st world country", assuming you really do live in Minnesota. (But I'm not sure why we're talking about you)

stj007 wrote:
I consider a decent wage to be some nebulous amount that it takes to survive with possibly a little extra.

And that number is a LOT less in China than in the US. Which is why games are made there.

stj007 wrote:
I apologize if I caused you any angst by my previous post. You appear to have strong feelings regarding this topic.

No worries. Your reply was even-handed and well-said. But yes, I do have strong feelings. I lived in China for a few years, and I'm tired of people suggesting that taking away jobs is somehow supportive of fair wage advocacy.

If/when China's economy develops to the point where it's no longer economically advantageous for US companies to print games in China and ship them back to US, that would be a good sign for China. At that point I too would be happy to see more games printed in USA.
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Bindlestick Bindlestick
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esirof wrote:
We had a similar thread earlier this year when someone asked about slavery in game production: Slavery in game production.


I find the usage of the word "slavery" in that thread to be purposefully misleading, inflammatory, and distasteful, particularly when modern day slavery is a very real thing (i.e. human trafficking). And this type of language is a very common offense when discussing wages. It is quite difficult to have an honest conversation about the situation and what option the consumer has to change their purchasing habits when people throw around charged and incorrect language. It indicates they are not interested in having a discussion but rather looking to win a political argument. I find it extremely distasteful.

(disclaimer: this is not an opinion for or against "Fair Trade" nor child labor or anything else. It's on observation regarding a pet peeve of mine is all. Carry on.)
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Michael Hyland

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bindlestick wrote:
esirof wrote:
We had a similar thread earlier this year when someone asked about slavery in game production: Slavery in game production.


I find the usage of the word "slavery" in that thread to be purposefully misleading, inflammatory, and distasteful, particularly when modern day slavery is a very real thing (i.e. human trafficking). And this type of language is a very common offense when discussing wages. It is quite difficult to have an honest conversation about the situation and what option the consumer has to change their purchasing habits when people throw around charged and incorrect language. It indicates they are not interested in having a discussion but rather looking to win a political argument. I find it extremely distasteful.

(disclaimer: this is not an opinion for or against "Fair Trade" nor child labor or anything else. It's on observation regarding a pet peeve of mine is all. Carry on.)


It's not misleading. It's getting at the truth of the situation. All one has to do is looks at footage of sweatshops in some of these countries where people are paid less than a living wage. 1 dollar a day in some places. They are subject to inhumane conditions and humiliation for any minor infractions. It is slavery. But because there people are paid even the pitiful amount they are paid, our conscience is satisfied and we can brush it aside and just tell ourselves, they don't have to work there. They are free to go at any time. Except they are not free to just leave, because to survive they have to suffer in these conditions.
 
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Adam D.
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I want my games to not smell like a fricking chemical factory when I open them up. For that I'd pay extra.

I'd also pay extra if the box said Made in America (and even more if it said "Maid in America.") It's not about "taking" jobs from somewhere else, it's about having jobs here.

But as was alluded to, Your only real choice is to not buy. It's not like you can pick to get your ASL module from country X. You get whatever the company went with.

I'll toss some gas on it: when does fair trade clash with locally sourced?
 
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Curt Carpenter
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TheCollector wrote:
I want my games to not smell like a fricking chemical factory when I open them up.

Yeah, I think the first printing of Biblios should have come with a warning to open outdoors, only when there is a stiff breeze, and hold box downwind from face when doing so.
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Gunky Gamer
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curtc wrote:
TheCollector wrote:
I want my games to not smell like a fricking chemical factory when I open them up.

Yeah, I think the first printing of Biblios should have come with a warning to open outdoors, only when there is a stiff breeze, and hold box downwind from face when doing so.


And let's not forget the fetid, rotting smell that accompanied the leather cups in Stone Age.
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Gunky Gamer
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TheCollector wrote:

I'll toss some gas on it: when does fair trade clash with locally sourced?


When the apple orchards around my neck of the woods in NY figure out how to grow excellent coffee?
 
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Bindlestick Bindlestick
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Macrawn wrote:


It is slavery....They are free to go at any time.


Your language is painfully intentionally misleading. If you want to honestly weigh the tension that exists between sweatshops and impoverished existence, you can do so without resorting to using a word that does not apply. We can start having an honest discussion about how to help impoverished countries, what kind of buying choices we "should" be making when people stop insisting on using this language in a blatantly dishonest manner.

Millions of people are being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery all over the world TODAY. That is slavery, people making board games for low wages are not. It may or may not be fair, nice, bad, awful, immoral, their best option, etc, but what it certainly isn't is slavery.

If you can't state the situation in a way that successfully captures the tension between economic reasons such conditions exist and the living conditions of the workers without slinging the word "slavery" around, you are simply lazy/dishonest/ignorant/stupid.
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Michael Hyland

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bindlestick wrote:
Macrawn wrote:


It is slavery....They are free to go at any time.


Your language is painfully intentionally misleading. If you want to honestly weigh the tension that exists between sweatshops and impoverished existence, you can do so without resorting to using a word that does not apply. We can start having an honest discussion about how to help impoverished countries, what kind of buying choices we "should" be making when people stop insisting on using this language in a blatantly dishonest manner.

Millions of people are being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery all over the world TODAY. That is slavery, people making board games for low wages are not. It may or may not be fair, nice, bad, awful, immoral, their best option, etc, but what it certainly isn't is slavery.

If you can't state the situation in a way that successfully captures the tension between economic reasons such conditions exist and the living conditions of the workers without slinging the word "slavery" around, you are simply lazy/dishonest/ignorant/stupid.


You are misquoting me which is misleading taking what I said out of context.

The essence of my argument, is that they are not in fact free to go. It's an illusion. It is a modern day form of slavery that people are held in these types of conditions and it should be viewed as such.

I think you are directing your anger in the wrong direction. You should be directing it at both of these issues. Get over the semantics, and look at it for what it really is and I think you would agree.
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Jerry
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As far as I'm concerned, fair trade is any trade that is not coerced, so no, I wouldn't pay extra.

 
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Alex Cannon
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Obviously this is a sensitive subject for some, and no matter the terminology, a lot of manufacturing around the world could be seen as un-ethical.

Unfortunately it seems that nothing much will change until market forces dictate that games; as luxury items, should be ethically sourced.
 
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