Sunday 18 November 2007

Cheap is at somebody else's expense

Its been cropping up a fair bit recently but the idea that cheap is good is particularly obscene while we sit out this peak oil consumption frenzy. Cheap is only good if you can't afford anything else, otherwise it's just somebody else on the other side of the world scraping a living out of our frequent impulse-buys that end up as the pile of junk that heats the world while our collective urges are sated. I'm quite confident that oil at 200 dollars a barrell is the only answer for those oil junkies who are in complete denial about where we are. I will be having a little party around then but in the mean time here is the culture of our times on plastic bags. We worship cheap when in actual fact, we can't really afford it.


  1. Isn't cheap relative?

    I mean, one mans cheap is another mans expensive - it depends on the individuals need as well as the overall market conditions.

    Isn't it?

    It's like when I see Taxi's with signs saying "COST EFFECTIVE" and I always wonder how they can say that because ultimately true cost effectiveness can only be evaluated POST campaign, not pre.

    We now live in a World of potential ... which ultimately means anything can be deemed 'effective' if you can justify the potential success - it's small minded and flawed but hey, it keeps the wheels of business turning doesn't i!

  2. Cheap is relative Rob. This is why I said 'Cheap is only good if you can't afford anything else'

    | do take your point though and rather than make a blanket statement like that we should be making what I called 'examined life' choices. This means rather than senseless consumption we need to look at stuff on an individual basis and within its own context. A five pound T Shirt for instance can only mean one thing and it isn't good.

  3. The problem is that cheap means someone loses out. The sad fact is that the person who loses out is usually the person who it affects most and is least able to fight back.

  4. You haven't seen my dress sense have you?! Ha

  5. It means even more car boot sales and black bags full of clothes dumped outside charity shops. Except the clothes can't get to the countries that need them fast enough. It also makes me wonder if they end up recieving third-hand the cheap clothes that they slaved over to make. A not so nice version of that pass it on idea you mentioned on your other blog charlie.
    (good to meet you and rob on friday too!)

  6. Hi Rob and Jo. I suppose what I'm getting to here is the failure of neo liberal capitalism to address the challenges of our day. Cheaper prices have meant great accesibility for an experience culture but have also equally contributed to a decadent waste of resources. Also the notion that incremental growth can only be a good thing is insane.

    As John Grant puts it in his book The Green Manifesto, if this issue is a moral question than our actions can only be immoral.

    Right. That's my holier than thou monologue for the day.