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Old 09-19-2010, 10:29 AM
 
Location: United States
464 posts, read 635,342 times
Reputation: 767

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There is a huge danger behind our culture's lust for "cheap" products and staples; low prices drive down labor and production costs. The worker loses and eventually we all lose in the end.

Some really good books I've read that have placed an amazing perspective on our current economic crisis, why "cheaper" is not better and why I believe it's only going to worsen:

  • The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization by Gordon Laird
  • Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

After reading these two books you will have a better understanding of how our culture cannot sustain the current consumer culture of "cheap". I really recommend them to those frugalistas who want to learn more.
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:34 PM
 
24,710 posts, read 26,777,106 times
Reputation: 22704
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillcountrywinefan View Post
There is a huge danger behind our culture's lust for "cheap" products and staples; low prices drive down labor and production costs. The worker loses and eventually we all lose in the end.

Some really good books I've read that have placed an amazing perspective on our current economic crisis, why "cheaper" is not better and why I believe it's only going to worsen:

  • The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization by Gordon Laird
  • Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell
After reading these two books you will have a better understanding of how our culture cannot sustain the current consumer culture of "cheap". I really recommend them to those frugalistas who want to learn more.
Do either of these books talk about the high cost of cheap food? I'm wondering because I think the way cattle and poultry are raised & fed, and the way they put cheap "high fructose corn syrup" in everything and all the processed foods, are causing obesity, and by extension, high health care costs.
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 16,997,019 times
Reputation: 7193
There is a huge difference between "cheap" and "frugal" at the end of the day.

Many people think that by being frugal (not wasting) they are being cheap but that's not the case at all. Cheap is not choosing the right thing for the task just because you're to lazy to find a better less wasteful (frugal) way to do the same thing which always requires more thought and (oh horrors!) work.
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:02 AM
 
Location: United States
464 posts, read 635,342 times
Reputation: 767
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
Do either of these books talk about the high cost of cheap food? I'm wondering because I think the way cattle and poultry are raised & fed, and the way they put cheap "high fructose corn syrup" in everything and all the processed foods, are causing obesity, and by extension, high health care costs.
Both books make excellent arguments against having an economy built upon the consumption of cheap items.

The book "Cheap" by Ellen Ruppel Shell does touch upon the perils and hidden costs of having "cheap" food grown elsewhere to satisfy American's needs. Author Shell gives a good example of how a restaurant like Red Lobster can offer "all you can eat Shrimp" for a certain price.

The secret is the Shrimp are grown in farms over in Thailand. The hidden costs are in the chemicals needed to support such massive Shrimp farms and their environmental impact; the human rights abuses from exploited workers, etc. Most people never conjure this when dining on their dinner; they just enjoy the cheap price they're paying for what was once an expensive luxury in certain parts of the U.S. (at least back when I was a kid)
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:33 AM
 
Location: United States
464 posts, read 635,342 times
Reputation: 767
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
There is a huge difference between "cheap" and "frugal" at the end of the day.

Many people think that by being frugal (not wasting) they are being cheap but that's not the case at all. Cheap is not choosing the right thing for the task just because you're to lazy to find a better less wasteful (frugal) way to do the same thing which always requires more thought and (oh horrors!) work.
Absolutely true!

For the general public, the word "frugal" has somehow over the years managed to conjure up visions of its practitioners as Ebeneezer Scrooge types with spartan lifestyles. For those frugal readers here we all know that is not so; it's not easy changing the public's perception.

Elaine Ruppel Shell's book "Cheap" makes a good point in stating that as consumers, we're eventually going to have to pay the "true cost" of an item which will mean higher prices. But will our consumer base, worn out by stagnant and declining wages and job insecurity, be able to "afford" them?
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:49 AM
 
13,710 posts, read 22,821,151 times
Reputation: 18521
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillcountrywinefan View Post
Elaine Ruppel Shell's book "Cheap" makes a good point in stating that as consumers, we're eventually going to have to pay the "true cost" of an item which will mean higher prices. But will our consumer base, worn out by stagnant and declining wages and job insecurity, be able to "afford" them?
Ah, the mythical "true cost".

It seems to me that people with an axe to grind always like to bring up the "true cost" of the programs/products that they do NOT like. When it is their sacred cow, they do not want to look at the "true cost".
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:10 PM
 
Location: United States
464 posts, read 635,342 times
Reputation: 767
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
Ah, the mythical "true cost".

It seems to me that people with an axe to grind always like to bring up the "true cost" of the programs/products that they do NOT like. When it is their sacred cow, they do not want to look at the "true cost".
Not sure if the author has any "axe to grind"; I didn't detect that as I read the book. The author's arguments were balanced and made sense economically.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:14 PM
 
2,653 posts, read 4,595,132 times
Reputation: 1893
JibJab summed it all up here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKv6RcXa2UI
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