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Issue 399 of New Internationalist

Reader-owned global journalism

April 2007

Cotton: the peril and the promise

The magic crop was once thought to be the 'white gold' that would lead the Global South out of poverty. But all is not well, neither in the cotton fields nor in the sweatshop factories that turn out your T-shirts and blue jeans. We follow the cotton chain and find links that are tangled in exploitation and tragedy. Our editor travels to India to discover an unfolding disaster – and the determination to reshape the fabric of the cotton economy. But there's more to the story of cotton that that – a fascinating history, a contested present and a perilous future filled with promise.

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Included in this issue

Sweat, fire and ethics

*Bob Jeffcott* makes the case against ethical shopping.

Natural alternatives to cotton...

Advances in cotton production and the development of synthetic fibres.

Shell still hell

Shell may be pumping the petrodollars into glossy PR campaigns, but Nigerians remain unimpressed.
Breaking with ‘tradition’

Breaking with ‘tradition’

Women’s movements were much in evidence at the Nairobi gathering.

Powerloom prison

India’s textile industry is changing – and the workers are not the beneficiaries. *Dionne Bunsha* reports.
Coked up

Coked up

Farmer Gilbert Rodrigo from Tamil Nadu in India spent the WSF marching around telling people not to drink Coke.
‘Privatization brings the rain’

‘Privatization brings the rain’

A new African Water Network was launched at the WSF to co-ordinate opposition to ‘water privatization in all its forms’.
Queer eye for the WSF

Queer eye for the WSF

The many African lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex activists made this one of the largest public gatherings...
Poverty bites WSF on the backside

Poverty bites WSF on the backside

We arrived at the stadium where the 2007 World Social Forum was taking place.

Organic and beyond

Can a shift to organic create a sustainable yield? *Richard Swift* weighs the evidence.

Cooking up change

The seventh World Social Forum (WSF) took place this January in Nairobi, Kenya.

Death by cotton

India’s farmers have been killing themselves by the thousands. *Richard Swift* finds out why.

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