Networks, ethics, and economic values: faith-based business and the coffee trade in Central America

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Author: Amy Reynolds
Date: Winter 2013
From: Latin American Research Review(Vol. 48, Issue 1)
Publisher: Latin American Studies Association
Document Type: Report
Length: 10,136 words
Lexile Measure: 1370L

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Abstract :

In an era of increasing economic liberalization, much has been written on the challenges facing alternative trade movements. Religion is often overlooked in such research, and I examine how the faith identity of one set of actors influenced their involvement in the Central American coffee trade. On the basis of ethnographic research in Nicaragua, I examine how religious networks, ethics, and values shaped the economic behaviors of ah evangelical Christian coffee network. Ultimately, I find religion had a mixed impact. Local networks brought actors together in a common mission for economic justice, although transnational connections mattered little beyond providing aid. Although religious ethics promoted a sense of fairness, more radical was a focus on transparency, which altered economic relationships among those in the coffee chain. Finally, actors leveraged their spiritual vision to challenge market dynamics and redefine the coffee product, although this vision both constrained and advanced efforts toward true empowerment of farmers. En una era de liberalizacion economica en aumento, se ha escrito mucho sobre los desafios que enfrentan los movimientos para un intercambio comercial alternativo. La religion se echa a un lado en estudios sobre la globalizacion. En este articulo examino como la identidad religiosa de un grupo de participantes influyo en su involucramiento en el comercio del cafe en America Central. Haciendo uso de la etnografia, examino como las redes religiosas, la etica y los valores han impactado los comportamientos economicos de una red de cafetaleros en Nicaragua. Como resultado, he encontrado que la religion tuvo un impacto mixto. Las redes locales unieron a varios protagonistas en una mision comun para la justicia economica, porque, aparte de dar ayuda financiera, a las conexiones transnacionales les importaba poco lo demas. Mientras que la etica religiosa ha promovido un sentido de justicia, el tema de la transparencia ha sido el foco mas radical, lo que altero las relaciones economicas entre los del sector cafetalero. Por ultimo, aunque la vision espiritual intento desafiar la dinamica del mercado y redefinir al cafe como producto, esta vision restringia y aumentaba los esfuerzos para un verdadero empoderamiento de los agricultores.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A328162454