Thinking about costs…

September 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

“The deepest problem that local-food efforts face, however, is that we’ve gotten so used to paying so little for food.  It may be expensive in terms of how much oil it requires, and how much greenhouse gas it pours into the atmosphere, and how much tax subsidy it receives, and how much damage it does to local communities, and how many migrant workers it maims, and how much sewage it piles up, and how many miles of highway it requires–but boy, when you pull up your cart to the register, it’s pretty cheap.”  Bill McKibben, Deep Economy, p. 89

Lately I’ve been thinking more about how much things cost.  Previously, that meant thinking about how much money I would have to put down to purchase something.  I’ve always been a bit of a cheapskate – searching the ads, coupon-clipping, checking the price-per-unit, trying to make sure that the stuff I bought had little cost…to myself.

It was only this year that I began thinking of other costs of things.  If I want to replace my outdated stuff with cool new stuff, there are costs beyond the monetary.  Environmental – my old stuff may or may not be used again ever.  Also, if I buy new stuff for cheap, there’s a possibility that someone made it far away in a factory – someone who may or may not have health care and fair wages – others may be shouldering some of the costs of my purchases.  One shift for me has been trying to buy things that are of high quality, so that they won’t need quick replacing.

Honestly, it ought to make us think of the cross – the cost of my sins was borne on a cross by Someone other than me.

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