The St. Louis Post-Dispatch humps the leg of a local entrepreneur:
An entrepreneur from Edwardsville is weaving a network of basket makers from some of the world’s poorest countries to create a business that combines spirituality and fair trade.
The Blessing Basket Project grew out of a need that former television news producer Theresa Wilson had to lift women around the world out of poverty. Wilson, 36, originally wanted to work with poor women in the United States. But when she put her idea on an Internet bulletin board, she was deluged with e-mail from around the world from aid workers.
She’s a do-gooder, doing good things for the world around her. She’s having people in third world countries weave baskets which she sells:
At the Festival of Nations last month in Tower Grove Park, the Blessing Basket Project sold 92 baskets from Bangladesh and Uganda at $25 to $35 each. Wilson and her husband, Bryan, a construction worker who helps the company as a volunteer, said they are surprised at the response they get from buyers.
Got that? They sold the baskets for $25 to $35 each? How much did they pay the poor people in the third world to create them?
The 150 weavers that the Blessing Basket Project is working with around Kampala, Uganda, were paid $12 for a set of three baskets – three times more than typically offered. The weavers – mostly female subsistence farmers – are able to buy milk and meat for their children as well as books and uniforms for school.
So, they’re paying $4 each for these baskets and selling them at $25 to $35 each. I am sorry, that looks like a 500% to 700% capitalist imperialist dog mark-up to me.
Of course, I’m not against capitalist imperialist dogism, but I do think that the Post-Dispatch likes to assail corporations who would do this, particularly those that use third world labor to do things formerly done by unionized US workers.
I guess the difference is that software and automobiles aren’t sold at Whole Foods Market.