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Amidst the growing confusion between fair trade products – there’s fair trade, fairer trade, fair and organic, fair and local, fair and non global warming, fair to the last drop, etc. – political humourist John Oliver may have found a much easier way to determine what product to buy.

In one of his stand-up comedy acts last month, Oliver asked, “What is fair trade, when you boil it down, other than basic human politeness? …Rather than praising fair trade, we need to be demonising unfair trade. So, I suggest that from tomorrow onwards, all unfairly traded products should be forced to carry this logo: It’s a cartoon of an international businessman urinating upon an Africa boy. I think that might really help nag at your subconscious when you’re queuing up at the supermarket with a basket full of shattered lives.”

In another example of unfair trade, Oliver targeted outsourcing: “I try and write new material as much as I can, but unfortunately, recently, I have been forced to outsource my job writing operation to a little 10-year-old Indonesian boy. …I’ve brought one of his blood splattered notebooks. Most of his material is observational stuff, you know, what its like to be a little 10-year-old Indonesian boy: ’What’s up with the guy hitting me with a big stick? What’s going on there?’”

A long time political satirist, Oliver explains where this focus came from in an interview with Cool’Eh Magazine: “I guess with stand-up you end up gravitating towards talking about things that you care about… As globalization tightens its grip around the equator and squeezes, there is so much to write about. I’ve found that as I’ve become increasingly disenfranchised with party politics, I’ve become more interested in the wider issues which I no longer trust politicians to address.”

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