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Ellen Ruppel Shell

Författare till Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture

8 verk 711 medlemmar 23 recensioner

Om författaren

Ellen Ruppel Shell is associate professor and co-director of the Program in Science Journalism at Boston University.

Inkluderar namnet: Ellen Ruppel Shell

Verk av Ellen Ruppel Shell


Allmänna fakta

Auburn, New York, USA
University of Rochester (BA)
The Atlantic Monthly



Deeep, enlightening, all encompassing. Covers all possible aspects: psychological, economic, political, social, ethical etc...
Den85 | 19 andra recensioner | Jan 3, 2024 |
A great summary of the myriad ways we accept and even demand low prices, to the detriment of our economic and social well-being. Could be better-organized, but the book is extremely well-researched and easy to understand.
jeneralinterest | 19 andra recensioner | Dec 11, 2021 |
Food for thought. And I still cringe when I go to the discount store!
Chica3000 | 19 andra recensioner | Dec 11, 2020 |
About a year and a half after acquiring this book I finally read it! The reason for my reluctance was that I feared learning too much about some of my favorite retailers, especially Ikea. I had heard an interview with the author on the radio and decided I should read the book, which is why I put it on my wish list. But I kept remembering the author's comments and thinking that I am like so many today - wanting to pay the least amount I can get away with. KNOWING that there are reasons this is not a good thing, but not yet ready to face those reasons. Finally the day came.

It wasn't as hard to read as I'd expected. Certainly it is written well and the clear style alone makes the pages fly by. It is thoroughly researched but the references are at the end. As I do with many other nonfiction works, I will be keeping this one in my permanent collection for the references especially, but also for the many tidbits I gleaned while reading.

I did not know, for example, that most of today's shrimp comes from Thailand, where it is farm-raised. Farm-raising wipes out the mangrove forests and pollutes the land and water so that it cannot be used to grow rice again. Shrimp has edged out the rice that used to be the main export of Thailand and rice has become more expensive for those who can least afford it. The shrimp is fed a nutrient mix, antibiotics, and chemicals. All this so that Red Lobster can offer all-you-can-eat shrimp.

I did not know that Ikea lives under the umbrella of a Dutch nonprofit! It isn't a Swedish company at all, even though its buildings are there. The nonprofit ruse allows it to skip paying taxes, of course. Ikea prides itself on insisting on sustainable lumber from its suppliers yet its inspectors do not begin to be able to inspect all of the locations - because it would be too expensive to hire more inspectors. Further, the furniture is so cheaply made that it can hardly be used for anything else and when parts break there is little recourse than to recycle. Buying new is not the way to sustainability. Ikea has been called the producer (although it does not produce most of its products itself; instead it encourages suppliers to undercut the prices of others...) of the least sustainable furniture in the world.

The lack of worker protections worldwide, Shell notes, threatens workers at home here in the U.S. What happens in China doesn't, in fact, stay in China. It emigrates here. Thus workers are let go when their wages get too high, and new people with no skills come in the door. Thus went Circuit City and see how much good it did them?

All across the board, the insistence on price as the most important attribute means we are cheating ourselves of variety, quality, and craftsmanship that was available not much more than 50 years ago. We are getting inferior goods, from our food to our furniture to our clothing. Only if we start to see our way toward supporting a fair price for a good product will we be able to make our way back.
… (mer)
slojudy | 19 andra recensioner | Sep 8, 2020 |

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½ 3.5

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