The Silent Price Behind the Price
By: Hanna Maria, Simply Well Written
Who pays when products are too cheap?
We are living in a competitive economy.
What is the competition for? Kindness? Fairness? Care? Generosity? Reciprocity?
The competition is about the price and market position of the products we sell. It’s about paying the least and getting the most.
That means, as employer, I need to produce as much as possible in as little time as possible, paying the lowest possible salary, so that my prices are competitive and attractive and I make the most profit.
But this equation does not add up in the long run. If the consumer or the business owner does not pay their part of the price, someone else always has to.
The food industry has to state the ingredients in the products they sell.
My dream is the same disclosure when it comes to all the ‘ingredients’ of the product. What is behind the price? How well did you pay your suppliers, farmers, or employees? What waste did you produce and how did you dispose of it? What are your work ethics? What has really gone into the product you are selling me?
When I buy something new – a t-shirt, a vacuum cleaner, a tent, a printer, etc. I want to purchase wisely. For that I need to know what went into the price of this t-shirt that costs 3.- Euro?
Obviously this is not the correct price to pay for a new piece of clothing. It is way too cheap. If I don’t pay the price when purchasing, someone else has already paid it. In this case the cashier in the shop who does not earn enough to feed her children well, or to buy the clothes they would need; the production workers forced to bear inhumane working and living conditions; the ‘cheap children’, who are dyeing the clothing instead of learning and playing.
Disclosing what is behind the price on a label does not only provide information based on which people may make their choices. It also brings awareness to the fact that some prices include the horrible treatment of earth and people. For something to shift, in the ethics of how we produce, the first step is awareness of what is presently occurring.
With information and awareness I, as the consumer, can make clearer choices when I stand in front of the aisle choosing which brand of the same product to buy. As money is my ballot paper, I would love an option that empowers me to know all that I am really buying and allows me to rest assured that I have fairly paid its true cost.