By  on August 5, 2009

Being cheap can be costly. That’s the conclusion of Ellen Ruppel Shell, author of the new book “Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture” (The Penguin Press), who argues that American consumers’ fixation on low price and bargains leads to poor quality merchandise, which harms both individuals and the environment, and discourages creativity and innovation.

“We rail against exploitation of low-paid workers in Asia as we drive 20 minutes to the Big Box to save three bucks on tube socks and a dollar on underpants,” writes Ruppel Shell, a correspondent for The Atlantic and a professor of journalism at Boston University. “We lecture our kids on social responsibility then buy them toys assembled by destitute child workers on some far-flung foreign shore.”

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