|Interesting blog post on the cost of bargains
||[Oct. 4th, 2016|01:13 pm]
http://www.jamesmayhew.co.uk/2016/05/a-penny-for-your-thoughts-the-true-cost-of-bargain-books.html My reaction was yes, yes, yes!
Though this post concentrates on books, the same may be said for other things in life. With wages depressed in many places, many people cannot afford quality food, for instance. And those who can afford quality food still buy the cheapest they can...which is destructive to farming practices that preserve and sustain agricultural land in all nations, land that is vital to the biological and chemical systems that sustain all life on this planet. When land taxes and other costs force UK and US farmers to quit farming--and their land turns into hardscapes of roofs and roads and parking lots--there's both a loss of vegetation that produces oxygen and a huge load of additional carbon dioxide produced. There's also increased runoff from rain--dirty water into the streams and rivers, causing floods, and less water soaking into the ground to emerge (filtered by soil and rock) as clean springs that provide cleaner water. Moreover, the skills of sustainable farming--the best use of agricultural land, with a lower production of CO2 and production of quality food that is itself less contaminated by pesticides and fertilizers and contributes fewer of these chemicals to groundwater and runoff--are easily lost in the skip of a few generations.
Our human situation on this planet is not sustainable now, and saving as many human lives as possible requires changing our ideas about what is valuable and what is not.
You're right, on both counts.
I try to shop for deals, but I also try to buy local as much as possible. So I always start my grocery shopping at Co-Op, since they do produce from local farmers and meat from local farmers and so on and so forth and their prices tend to be quite low for canned goods and the like. Sobeys also sells mostly Canadian goods (not necessarily sourced locally, but at least Canadian).
This post and your points just reinforce this for me.
We do what we can. Used to raise our own meat, but all concerned got older and tireder. I'm seriously considering chickens again, though in our extremely hot summers they don't lay and are subject to heat problems, even in a good, well-aired coop and run. I do buy local when I can get it (though local for me is a 20 mile trip to a supermarket, which has some more local stuff but mostly not--and the nearest farmer's market is a mile or so farther on.) I try to buy Texas ag products, including wine, when those are available. After that, US. But to get US lamb, you pretty much have to know someone who's raising lambs for a kid in school to take to an FFA lamb show. And then do the slaughter and processing yourself (have done that in the past.)
As you say we do what we can. I am lucky to have a butcher who sources as locally as possible (how local depends on the animal) and a green rocer who does source what he can locally. In the UK the co-ops which sell groceries as well as some meant and veg vary in that some are regionally owned and some are nationally owned but all are members ofa national purchasing group.; this means they buy some things locally and some not. I am lucky to have a coop at the end of my road.
What worries me is that there are too few people in positions of power (not just elected officials) who take a long view so too little thought goes in to how development could be managed to minimise thing like run-off as well as travel distances etc.
Agree. They are wedded to short term response-to-crisis, short term profits, and short term electoral cycles. We need to educate them on the long-term issues, question them at public hearings about long-term effects of their "solutions" and keep that up. Exhausting. Depressing. But it needs doing.
2016-10-06 09:39 pm (UTC)
Short term response to crisis.
You have hit the head squarely. It is the nature of the beast but we try.
2016-10-07 01:08 am (UTC)
Re: Short term response to crisis.
Yup. And maybe someday...we'll convince enough citizens to vote for those who can and do think long-term.
I do my best to not shop at Walmart because they sell typically poor quality goods and treat their workers and vendors so poorly. Meanwhile, the public pays taxes to undermine their profits and help ensure that their workers have services that they could not otherwise afford.
That was a very interesting post by Mr. Mayhew. I have a small list of authors that, when they release a book, I'll buy it ASAP in hardback. But recently I've acquiring more through ebook deals via Humble Bundle and such. Plus, I'm unemployed right now. I'm planning on switching a lot of my book purchasing to ebook format because (and I never thought I'd say this) we have too many books, and one of these days we're going to have to move, perhaps internationally.
I haven't bought books through these discount stores in ages.
But the main thing that I want to say is actually a question. There's a program called Adam Ruins Everything, in the second half of his first season, aired within the last month, he ruins malls and discount malls. He says that brands are doing production runs through second-rate manufacturers and are sending them direct to outlet stores (specifically clothing brands, in this case). It makes me wonder if highly discounted book outlets are being flooded with cheaply-produced books: thinner paper, thinner covers, etc.
I guess I should stop in one some time, if I knew where one was, and take a look at the quality of stock.
The economics of the book-printing industry are entirely skewed because so much of it is devoted to producing the physical object, when it's really the words that are important. (Leaving aside art books -- but even comics are increasingly going digital.) I'd rather pay for an ebook, where a larger amount is likely to go to the author, and where I don't have to worry about sustainable production of a physical object.
It's sad that this trend is hard on indie book stories, but I think it's the right direction in terms of sustainability.
In the last few years, pretty much the only books I've purchased in hard copy are used books. Which is a form of sustainable reuse, I suppose.