The Case Against Cheap Bananas: Lessons from the EU-Caribbean Banana Agreement

Gavin Fridell
Publication Date: 
This article examines the dismantling of the EU-Caribbean banana agreement and how its decline has been justified by economic critics drawing on dubious knowledge about the benefits of free trade and the negative effects of ‘preferential’ trade.
Based on a historical assessment of the banana agreement, it provides a critique of the claims of the economic opponents and argues that their assertions are based largely on the speculative assumptions of the free trade ‘power/knowledge regime’ and not the historical, power, and class conditions under which bananas are produced, traded, and sold. Taking these considerations into account, the banana agreement, despite its shortcomings, was a model of ‘social efficiency’ that demonstrates the benefits of preferential treatment to support development and poverty alleviation among otherwise marginalized communities in the global South.