Total Cost Accounting (for ALL products)
The Green Nuke of the Green Revolution
We in the United States of America are continuously urged to never doubt or diminish the importance of the “free market economy” and the “free enterprise” economic system. The problem is that most big corporations do not really support the free market economy or free enterprise. They support and constantly promote a “hidden business subsidy system” and the system of hidden subsidies is killing our nation. It is not only killing our alleged economic and political values with regard to freedom, but it is literally killing people, killing living things, killing the life support environment. How does this happen?
The mechanism through which we violate the fundamental principles of free enterprise AND fundamental principles of science AND environmental protection, is by assigning the cost of “unintended consequences” to the taxpayers. Toxic waste, superfund sites, medical expenses arising from pollutants and damage to our genes or our immune systems are all paid for by the general population of citizens and taxpayers. Why is that accepted as fair? Apparently because people have become used to it. However, it is totally unjust, blatantly unfair. The people who should pay for environmental harm and personal injuries arising from “unintended consequences” are those who profit from the manufacture and sale of the product, and those who purchase the product and use it. The simplest and oldest method to have the costs paid in this way is to have the total costs of the product included in the market price, paid for by the purchaser and the producer. In order to have the total cost of the product, including recycling, reuse, or storage or safe disposal of the packaging and any portion of the unused product, or of the material that remains after use of the product, is to include a reasonable estimate of all such costs, and the actual recycling or reuse or disposal services, in the market price of the product offered for sale. This is TOTAL COST ACCOUNTING.
Total cost accounting is the only way, ultimately, that we Americans can protect ourselves and our life supporting environment from irreversible damage. Without including all of the costs of the product, not only the costs of manufacturing the product, but all the costs of collecting and processing the products end-use remains and end-use packaging, by recycling, reuse, safe storage or safe disposal, there is no effective incentive for chemical manufacturers or users to minimize the risk of harm to people and to the environment. Why should they care so long as they know any toxic conditions created by their product will be taken care of by the government, paid for by the taxpayers? Is this not the definition of a “sucker.”
Here are a few of the most well documented and terrifying “unintended consequences” of chemical products:
1) DDT to kill mosquitoes also killed birds by causing them to lay eggs with fragile shells;
2) Thalidomide caused children to be born with flippers instead of arms;
3) Diethylstilbestrol caused the daughters of users to develop uterine cancer;
4) Weed killers also kill beneficial soil fungi and insects and may disrupt fetal development;
There are thousands of dangerous chemicals that are stored or used that would cause extreme harm when released into the environment, such as dioxin. Why have you agreed to pay for such damage? Why do you accept “unintended consequences” from corporate economic giants while you do not accept “I didn’t mean it” from your child when they do something wrong? We had plenty of "unintended consequences" during the twentieth century. It is now the twenty-first century and if we are not fools and we do learn from experience there will be no more "unintended" consequences. Damaging and injurious results from toxic chemical products are now "EXPECTED consequences!" Industry must plan for expected costs.
With total cost accounting, every producer of a chemical product, which means practically every product in existence, would be required to include the costs of salvaging the remains of the product after use, processing the packaging, and any costs that can be predicted for the recycling, reuse, safe storage or safe disposal. This obviously would dramatically increase the market prices of some chemical products, especially toxic chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, some fertilizers, some medicines, and many household and industrial lubricants and cleaning products. But this is the way the “free enterprise” system and “free market” system is defined. We do not have a free market system when a big corporation decides to manufacture a dangerous chemical product, where we know there is a great risk of “unintended consequences” and say to the government and the people: “We know there is a great risk of harm to the environment, but we are grateful to know that you will pay for it when the damage is discovered.”
NO! That is not a free market system. In a real free market system, no product costs are assigned to the general public. In a real free market system the costs that arise from the product adhere to the product, and they must be paid at the point of purchase. A return to this principle of the free market system would protect us and our government from being overwhelmed by environmental damage and diseases caused by environmental destruction. It is reasonable for the government to subsidize certain types of business ventures that benefit society, but NOT environmental destruction! The most important and most powerful GREEN policy is:
Total Cost Accounting.
Support Total Cost Accounting now!
Support Total Cost Accounting now!
1) Link to: (Chemical System Failure) and 2) (Absolute Liability) -in exchange for profit or use of the chemical product.
Link to: (Welcome) or (JMDM 2009) or if reading Pitfalls of a Technological Animal, link back to (Good Steward vs the Voramon)