True Cost Economics

What's the price of your lifestyle? Is your living room furnished in blood, or your wardrobe woven of pain and suffering? How about your body - are you fed with diminishment and despair? Every piece of merchandise we buy costs a set amount of work, energy and resources. What we pay for it in cash may - or may not - reflect what went into its making. If we buy cheaply, at a discount store where prices are kept artificially low, then the price is paid by others who have to suffer to make up for the portion of the price we refused to pay. If we allow others to negotiate for costs that leave too small of a margin for fair wages or adequate health concerns, then the price is paid by the destablization of the land and the people and the societies that produce it. But our bargain hunting gets us nowhere. In the end, we pay the full price, with interest - in wars brought about by people pushed too far, by terrorism and riots sparked by those who feel (often rightly) that their people and their land are being drained of life so that the rest of us can buy or drive cheap toys that we don't even appreciate, by environmental degradation that affects us all perpetrated by those simply too powerful to be stopped or too poor to care as long as they can eat and live. We must all face the inevitable fact that human suffering doesn't stop at the suffering human in question, but ripples out to all of us. No matter what the actual price tag says we pay in full measure for what we buy and use, either in cash or in kind. By choosing to buy less and choose more wisely, we allow ourselves the financial breathing space to afford the better, fairer-priced option, and we step away from supplying the negative cycles of economic hardship. Our actions heal rather than harm, support rather than undermine. And in the end, by working together we can give birth to positive, more equitable cycles where everybody benefits fairly and justly and where everyone gets a chance to demand as well as supply. Yes, this does mean that we can't load our carts, our houses and our bodies to overflowing every time we step outside our door. But by choosing quality over quantity, we create better health and a better world for those around us and for ourselves. And that's priceless.


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