Worldstock.com: Friend or Foe?

There is a good post (and resulting comment discussion) over at WorldChanging about Worldstock, a division of Overstock.com that sells mostly sustainable, artisanal crafts and products from around the globe. In "The Worldstock Story," the CEO has this to say, "We pride ourselves on being honest brokers: we don’t gouge producers with our clout, nor consumers with mark-ups, thereby allowing the artisans to receive an average of 60 - 70 percent of the money you spend in Worldstock. Our goal in Worldstock is not to make money, but to create tens of thousands (and someday millions) of jobs in the poorest regions of the world, while bringing customers unique products of which they can be proud – hand-crafted clothing, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, and much more." Sounds great, right? Shop for furniture, jewelry, rugs and more, with a good bit of your money going where it's really needed. By all appearances, Worldstock is attempting to be a transparent, fair-trade proponent for local economies in the developing world; big brother Overstock is not a particularly well-revered corporate citizen, so why develop this co-brand? Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne usually doesn't sugarcoat or mince words when it comes to his company, (whether spouting off about his own subpar holiday sales or espousing that his company is the victim of a Wall Street conspiracy intended to drive down its stock), so we're sort of inclined to believe that his vision for Worldstock isn't a wholly nefarious one. It's an odd juxtaposition, but more jobs and money for developing nations is a good thing, so we'll give it a hesitant thumbs up for now. ::Worldstock via ::WorldChanging