the real costs of our lifestyles
I don’t think that most of us understand the hidden costs of our behaviors. Otherwise, we just might reconsider how we do things. Hidden costs are things like the health effects and medical expenses of our choices, not to mention harder-to-tally items like environmental damage.
‘Externalities’ is the term used by economists for costs which are borne by society at large, not by the producers of goods. It’s mentioned in this video, which asks, What’s the real price of a gallon of gas?
Really, this is my main problem with the current version of what some call 'free-market capitalism.’ There are too many externalities, too many distortions for the market to accurately reflect the prices of things.
What would a tomato cost if the real price of transporting it 1500 miles was added?
This is also the clearest argument for a carbon tax. If burning fossil fuels carries so many hidden costs, taxing their use is probably the closest we can get to a more honest accounting of the real price paid by all of us.