True price: How to measure the factors that determine the cost of goods

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A Dutch nonprofit assists companies on measuring externalities that determine markups and consumers’ willingness to pay a “true” price for goods. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

“‘True’ price is really part of a broader family of accounting techniques,” says author and cultural critic Nick Romeo. The carbon footprint left behind from transporting goods and other environmental factors, including whether something is grown organically, can all drive up prices. Studies show that diet-related illnesses drive up American food prices, and that healthcare costs driven by foods that lead to obesity, adult onset diabetes, and various forms of cancer, all factor into determining costs.

Romeo reports on the True Price, a Dutch nonprofit, that analyzes and measures the factors that determine cost of goods. His piece on “How Much Do Things Really Cost?” was published in The New Yorker.