Friday, March 27, 2009

The Cost of Efficiency

Kevin Carson has a good post at C4SS laying out how the supposed efficiencies of industrial capitalism actually end up costing consumers. It reminds me of a point Paul Roberts makes in The End of Food, where he cites a study suggesting that, even if you value your own labor at a pretty high wage rate, it's impossible to figure a cost for home canning vegetables that comes anywhere close to what you pay in a grocery store. The markup to cover packaging, advertising, distribution and all the other overhead is something like 400%.


Dave said...

If other people canning the food is so expensive, wouldn't that imply that somewhere like a farmer's market or farmstand would have cheaper canned food prices? Yet the canned food prices I see at the farmer's markets around here seem to be higher than what I see in the grocery store.

tps12 said...

It should, but small producers still need to cover all the overhead costs Carson talks about. It's a market distortion caused by capitalism.