Re: 50+ and affordable
From: Brian Bartholomew (
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2007 01:19:16 -0700 (PDT)
"Lisa Poley" <lpoley [at]> writes:

   > more commonly higher prices are seen with new technologies and
   > innovations that have not yet been able to take advantage of the
   > cost savings that come from scaled up production.

   Right!  Less economy of scale means more resources consumed to
   build each unit.

   > The higher 'resource' costs usually reflects higher priced labor
   > inputs and initial R&D and capital outlays

   Right!  High-skill labor took a lot of resources (universities etc.)
   to produce.  Non-reoccuring engineering costs lots of resources.
   Capital is or proxies for natural resources.

The resource costs of initial R&D and factory construction are just as
physically real as the costs of production after the product is
designed.  If a product can't pay back its initial design investment
via income from sales, it is a net resource loss.


Social justice is an entirely separate topic from counting resource
use.  Slavery is an evil crime; the victims should be freed and the
slavemasters punished.  That said, I do not think Wal-Mart suppliers
kill workers if they try to resign their jobs.  If these jobs are
uniformly so horrible, why would people take them?

> Purchase of cheap goods imported from far away has significantly
> negative environmental impacts that are not well accounted for in
> the final price of the good because we don't currently internalize
> costs of the environment of CO2 emissions from transportation into
> the price of the goods we purchase.

The true resource cost of ocean shipping may be close to negligible
relative to the value of what's shipped:

        Today, transport costs account for about 1 percent of the
        final price of consumer goods, making country of origin
        largely an afterthought in purchasing decisions.

True, that 1% doesn't count air pollution.  But it's a big ocean and
there may not be that much air pollution.  How many harbors have a
smog problem?

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