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Author Raj Patel figures out the true costs - Metro US

Author Raj Patel figures out the true costs

A hamburger at a fast-food establishment might only cost a few dollars, but when you factor in the ecological, social and health-care costs associated with consuming it, the bill quickly mounts — to the tune of as much as $200.

“Behind that burger is a whole series of costs that the … corporation doesn’t have to pay,” Raj Patel, a bestselling author, activist and California-based academic said yesterday.

Patel will be speaking about his latest book at the Southminster United Church tonight at 7 p.m. as a part of the International Writers Festival’s Global Perspective Series.

The Value of Nothing explains why the markets value things the way they do and talks about how we, as citizens, can get it right.

Patel has an undergraduate degree from Oxford in economics, philosophy and politics and a PhD in sociology, but “mainly, I’m a regular citizen who’s interested in social justice and sustainability,” he said. “What I’ve been lucky enough to do is talk to some of the people who are valuing the world differently.

I’ve done a lot of work in slums in South Africa and talked to people who live in shacks and shack communities who have alternative economic visions of the world.”

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