Free trade or fair trade?


May 12, 2010

"Free trade is God's diplomacy," wrote tariff reformer Richard Cobden in 1857. One supporter was so taken with economic theory that he founded a magazine and the prospectus for The Economist read: "We seriously believe that free trade will do more than any other visible agent to extend civilization and morality throughout the world."

Quite appropriately, the Economist is currently having one of its enlightening online debates on just this subject – if equitable behavior and the future of trade are of interest to you, may we suggest you drop in to see some of the world's best minds debate whether making trade fairer is more important than making it freer. Voting is running 55-45 in favor of the motion with two days to run.

As you may have noted if you've been a long-term reader of Gizmag, we are ardent readers of the Economist. Originally a newsstand reader, I now spend almost as much time listening to the Economist as I do reading it online - after getting a taste for the audio edition of the Economist via iTunes podcasts (actually, their podcast library on iTunes is uncharacteristically disorganized, so search for "The Economist" to sample the free content), I subscribed, and it's such good value that I don't mind paying the extra money to get the magazine's special features read to me also.

BTW - this is not a paid advert - we don't do that sort of thing around here. It's an acknowledgment of a media company doing it right and producing consistently excellent journalism in a variety of formats so that we can all be better informed using the medium of our choice.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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