The coin purse on the left sells for $.38 in the market. That price leaves only $.08 to compensate all the people who helped to produce and bring the coin purse to market, but only after transportation, energy and sewing machine costs are covered. What will $.08 buy in Guatemala? Only 2 plain corn tortillas, without beans, without anything. Only the tortillas. Not enough to sustain a child for one meal. It seems incredible that anyone would work so hard for so little benefit. But competition in Guatemala is fierce. Artisans and middlemen are poor and desperate. They know they have to sell at the lowest price possible or someone else will. Thus, they are trapped in the cycle of poverty.
The purpose of cooperatives is to band artisans together to set prices in order to begin to compensate those who bring the product to market with a reasonable wage. As you can see from the breakdown, the wages are still modest but they can provide the basic necessities that mean the difference between a mal-nourished, chronically ill family and a healthy family.