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The formidable Megan McArdle and I have just begun our discussion of CHEAP on her site, and, not surprisingly, several of Megan's followers are outraged at the suggestion that predatory pricing has contributed to labor abuses and environmental devastation, in addition to doing serious damage to the bargaining power of Americans who work. (At least one of these critics has gone so far as to accuse me of being a "liberal arts" major!  Given my struggles with organic chemistry, perhaps I should have been.)  

Slurs aside, these angry folks subscribe to the "Sweatshops are A Dream" view of history, a view I do not share. 


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Ellen Ruppel Shell is the co-director of the Graduate Program in Science Journalism at Boston University. She is the author of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture.

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