"I was walking to work and I wanted to listen to the news so I popped into this Radio Shack to buy a radio. I found this cute little green radio for 4 dollars and 99 cents. I was standing there in line to buy this radio and I was wondering how $4.99 could possibly capture the costs of making this radio and getting it to my hands.
"The metal was probably mined in South Africa, the petroleum was probably drilled in Iraq, the plastics were probably produced in China, and maybe the whole thing was assembled by some 15-year-old in a maquiladora in Mexico. $4.99 wouldn't even pay the rent for the shelf space it occupied until I came along, let alone part of the staff guy's salary that helped me pick it out, or the multiple ocean cruises and truck rides pieces of this radio went on.
"That's how I realized, I didn't pay for the radio.
"Who did? The people who lost their natural resource base, factory workers, those who are made sick from factory pollution, and retail workers without health insurance."
- Excerpted from The Story of Stuff, a short and engaging film written and narrated by Annie Leonard. The film explains the "materials economy" in 20 fun-filled minutes and is available free online.