The High Cost of Discount Culture

Shell, Ellen Ruppel

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
An Atlantic correspondent uncovers the true cost--in economic, political, and psychic terms--of our penchant for making and buying things as cheaply as possible. From the shuttered factories of the rust belt to the look-alike strip malls of the sun belt, America has been transformed by its relentless fixation on low price, instead of durability and craftsmanship. This pervasive yet little examined obsession is arguably the most powerful and devastating market force of our time--the engine of globalization, outsourcing, planned obsolescence, and economic instability in an increasingly unsettled world. Author Shell traces the birth of the bargain as we know it from the Industrial Revolution to the assembly line and beyond, and marshals evidence from a wide range of fields to show the vast effects of this insidious shift: a blighted landscape, escalating debt (both personal and national), stagnating incomes, fraying communities, and a host of other socioeconomic ills.--From publisher description.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2009
ISBN: 159420215X
Branch Call Number: 381.149 S544c 2009
Characteristics: xix, 296 p. ;,25 cm


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Jun 07, 2013
  • eastvanbookfan rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I loved being forced to look into a mirror when I read books. I am fortunate enough to see myself in many of the issues this book explains. The author takes a bright flashlight, shines it into corners and the illumination causes a scattering of cockroaches scurrying away looking for a place to hide. Yet another title, where I hope I accept and re-orient myself based on realizing that if I am not going to be part of the solution, then I am part of the problem.....

Feb 07, 2013
  • MrMiyagi rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Let's face it, mankind is doomed at its own hands.
I'm glad I will be dead in no more than 60 years.

Aug 24, 2012
  • Browncoat rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I loved this book. It starts off explaining the history of bargain stores so we can see how companies like Wal-Mart and McDonalds came into existence and how they are able to keep their prices so low. We see the environmental damage that is happening across the world and the way that both workers and consumers are affected. If you don't know much about this topic, this book is a great place to start because it explains things in a way that is clear and easy to understand without talking down to the reader.

Oct 16, 2009
  • HRuhl rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this thoughtful book. It takes a consumer's perspective on market forces and explains why we, as consumers, often choose to act (seemingly) against our own self-interest.


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