The Real Cost of Bling

The price of gold keeps soaring in response to widespread jitters about US currency among the traders. But the real cost of gold, if the embedded long term enviormental costs were factored in, is astronomical. To produce a single ounce, miners have to quarry hundreds of tons of rock, which are then doused in a liquid cyanide solution to separate the gold. One ounce of gold creates up to 30 tons of toxic waste that’s dumped into the enviorment, into our commons. Who’s gonna pay the bill to clean it all up someday?

Every item made carries embedded costs, some are reflected in the price of the item but any cost that a producer can avoid paying, or externalize, will be avoided. Corporations are externalizing machines, they serve only the god of increased shareholder wealth, anything is appropriate to serve it. Gold and its bling bling appeal are just one example, another embedded cost we often over look is that cars use up over one third of their total lifetime energy footprint during construction, the rest is fuel.

All stuff, after necessities, is bling. If we paid the full costs of our comsumption instead of passing those costs on to the next generations stuff would get a lot more expensive, bling would look less shiny, and the 'want less' meme more cool.

The Story of Stuff