The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

How is it possible for a radio to cost as little as $4.99? For that matter, how is it possible for a “big ticket item” like a computer to cost as little as $200. It isn’t. Not really.

Along the way, all sorts of other costs go into that cheap radio or computer. In “The Story of Stuff,” Annie Leonard blows up the limited view of the materials economy and exposes the true cost of our consumer-driven culture. Here is the trailer. The full story is broken up into 7 short “chapters,” which are linked below. If you want to learn more, head over to for more information on the materials economy and sustainability.

In addition to the environmental and social costs of planned and perceived obsolescence in the materials economy, there is a further externalized cost that Leonard does not explore. This is the social cost of an entire country of people who are encouraged to buy things they cannot afford by a credit industry dumping piles of money credit in everyone’s lap. That is the social cost we discuss most here.

The lesson? We would all be better off consuming less, whether for the environment’s sake, our bank account’s sake, or our own sake.

“The Story of Stuff” on YouTube:

Or just hop on over to the Caveat Emptor playlist!