Thursday, February 26, 2009

Minor Persuasive Paper #1

Part I:

On the topic of fair trade my credibility will be questioned, so I need to explain my authority on the matter. To prove good sense, it would be best for me to explain my background at Starbucks and the close relationship that the company has in supporting fair trade. Based on the “insider” view that I provide, I can prove that I am informed and knowledgeable on the issue and controversy behind fair trade products (especially coffee) and have done my homework.

To establish my good character, I would cite the positive things that professors and employers have said about my personality. More importantly, since fair trade addresses issues of international affairs and justice, I would highlight my credential as an international studies major. Especially since I am interested and advocate for the issues of developing countries, pointing out that fact would help boost my credibility.

My final work will primarily be a way to inform the my readers/viewer. In order to demonstrate goodwill, I will try to present factual information and demonstrate the importance of fair trade. I will use ethical means of persuasion.

Part II:

Shachar Erez:

Peter James:

The first emotionally effective post was on the Private Sector Development Blog by the World Bank Group in response to the question “What is Fair Trade for?”. Shachar Erez advocates for fair trade and targets a very broad audience . The argument is emotionally persuasive because Erez devotes most it to the principles behind fair trade. Erez points out that the gains from fair trade certification are more than monetary. The post starts with the statement: “I ask myself, ‘What kind of world do I want to live in, and how can I make that possible?” Erez honors fair trade by stating that it is “justice,” not charity. The larger issue behind fair trade is respect.

Erez also uses enargeia to raise the readers’ emotional intensity. He/she encourages people to imagine being a farmer. The farmers’ economic limitations are described in detail. Tragic outcomes such as a forced move to city slums or illegally immigrating for work also tug on readers’ heartstrings. In the end, the obvious ethical choice for everyone, he/she argues, should be fair trade.

Another post was in response to a journalist article written on the blog of British newspaper The Telegraph. The original article “The Poverty of Fairtrade Coffee” was written by Alex Singleton. In a particularly effective anti-fair trade post, Peter James describes a world where farmers are “thrown to the wolves.” Like Erez, James uses enargeia, but in this case, to depict the distributor-controlled food chain and current world of globalization. He claims that governments have rejected farmers and instead favored free trade. Those farmers in the developing world are left poor because they lack the technology required in the world distribution system.

James employs pejorative language to criticize fair trade. He said says fair trade is “fighting the inevitable” and “hopelessly na├»ve.” The efforts of fair trade are described as “misguided.” Since it is written for ethically minded shoppers, the argument is especially effective since it attacks the “brand name” of fair trade by highlighting its misleading advertising and propaganda.

Both posts appeal to basic human principles and values that most people share. For instance Erez makes the argument for the justice and respect that comes with fair trade. James, on the other hand, makes a negative association with fair trade and demonstrates how consumers have been deceived and violated. They also use pejorative language to criticize their opposition.

The posts are effective because they address issues brought up by the opposite point of view. Erez acknowledges that some people consider fair trade charity, but is quick to point out why that opinion is wrong. Both authors recognize opinions that are contrary to their beliefs, but then they use it to enhance their own argument. Erez and James try to appeal to people who would initially disagree with their attitudes toward fair trade. Erez tries to address a general audience with and frames it as a human rights issue. James works with the internationally concerned group and attempts to prove the inefficiency of the fair trade system.

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