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Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Placebo Effect

A Placebo (latin: I shall please) is a fake medical intervention (for example an inert pill) that is administered as part of the control in medical trials, and very often turns out to be remarkably effective; sometimes even better than the real thing. This is known as the Placebo Effect.

Drug companies don't like the Placebo effect, because there's little profit in sugar pills.  But it sure saves the patient a lot of money.

So we decided to test out whether or not the placebo effect also works with fairtrade.  Do we really HAVE to pay this fairtrade premium to farmers - or would a placebo work just as well?

Yep.  Fake fairtrade .

Well - come on - be honest - have YOU spotted that I wear a fake Rolex  - and that it only tells the right time twice a day?

Step One:  We started by looking at THE MAP ....

Step Two: We then chose a load of dorky friends on their gap yah  -  with their smartphone video cameras -  to go to the interesting places on the map (all of them) & record what happened next.

Step Three:  We bought a load of stuff (tea, coffee, sugar, handicrafts, cocoa, honey, dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts - and so on) from all these places and of course paid as little as possible for it . Definitely no premium.

Step Four:  (Here's the clever bit) .  We then stuck little fake fairtrade logos on all the cheap stuff ; took it down the Mustard Seed; texted the dorky friends to start filming in their far flung places (at least - those that had remembered their chargers)  ; and then sold off all the stuff - fake logos an' all (and at full price of course - we didn't want the customers to suspect anything) to the gullible bleeding heart liberals who came into the shop.   And the customers never knew the difference; they didn't know they were getting a placebo product - clever huh?  

Yep - Big profits.

But - (on this occasion at least)  - the placebo effect didn't kick in at all.  However much we sold of the cheapo placebo stuff ,  it didn't make a jot of difference to the poor farmers.

The videos ( Android & iPhone in equal measure) showed clearly that the farmers & their families stayed poor.  Very poor. In fact, they got poorer.

We even tried sticking on more fake stickers: but that didn't work either.

So : we have to conclude therefore that the products we buy HAVE to be the real thing if they're going to help the farmers & their families. They have to be properly certified as fairtrade or fairly traded.

And therefore, isn't it just dandy that the new Traidcraft Spring catalogue has just come out: and is available for you to pick up from the Mustard Seed?  
Loaded with new stuff.

And - in the catalogue there's also a very interesting article about the Nocebo Effect  (available to read for anyone with the latest android augmented-reality Z-Axis eBook reader+3D specs ) .  

The article tells us that the Nocebo Effect really does apply to Fairtrade.....

Oh yes.

What's the Nocebo Effect - I hear you ask? (Bionic hearing.... )  Well, patients on placebos often suffer side effects and adverse reactions - even though they're just getting a harmless Placebo. Hence the Nocebo (latin: I will harm) Effect .

The same happens with fake fairtrade.

When we buy all the placebo stuff  in ordinary supermarkets, we think nothing of it.

But <because of that Nocebo Effect?> there's lots of nasty side effects & adverse reactions that we aren't aware of .

Those gap yah smartphone videos show clearly that the poor farmers & their families really suffer when we buy placebo.

In this case, it's got to be the real medicine. No sugar pills - unless they're fairtrade of course.

Which just goes to show that:

Just a spoon of fairtrade sugar makes the medicine go down,
The medicine go down, The medicine go down,
Just a spoon of fairtrade sugar makes the medicine go down,
In  the most delightful way! 

1 comment:

  1. Good afternoon,

    I hope you're well. I work with Traidcraft and noticed there are a couple of links in your blog that are landing on error pages. I can't find an email address to contact you directly, but if you wouldn't mind emailing me at I'd be happy to supplement these links with ones from the new site.

    I hope I hear from you soon! Take care.

    Kind Regards,