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Socially-based Curriculum Units · The Ethics of Alternative Commerce: Fair Trade & Microfinance


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The Ethics of Alternative Commerce: Fair Trade & Microfinance

Socially-based Curriculum Unit

In this unit created for HZT4U, Philosophy: Questions and Theories, students will learn about Fair Trade and Microfinance through a variety of means (Internet resources, YouTube videos, book references, biographical data sheets, powerpoints, etc) and look at specific examples of each in action (eg. Ten Thousand Villages and Students will then take their understanding of alternative commerce topics and scrutinize them according to historical ethical normative systems (eg. utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics). Finally, students will make an evaluation of the roles of Fair Trade and Microfinance and write a personal, supported opinion on the topic of alternative commerce.

It is hoped that students will finish this unit and understand:

  • that developed nations have played a role in the devastation and suppression of the economies of under-developed countries and also played a role in perpetuating world poverty;

  • that impoverished people in developing countries are not looking for a hand out but that they are ready, able, and motivated to work to sustain their families and communities if offered a fair and equitable chance to succeed;

  • that fair trade is a viable, and increasingly growing means, of helping build sustainable partnerships with agricultural workers and artisans in developing countries;

  • that microfinance is a growing movement that enables anyone to make small, but meaningful, loans to help impoverished people around the world;

  • that ethical actions can be taken by each individual to make a statement about what one believes is right and fair;

  • that they can make a lasting difference in the world (to quote Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

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