We have a problem with money.
Money used to be fine to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the products we buy. In the past, the availability of materials, meaning the abundance of certain resources like oil and coal, the abundance of fresh land, and air, and the limited availability of technological materials and of alternatives of technologies made money a useful mechanism for determining what should be promoted over others.
Today, our problem is much more complex, due to the scarcity of fossil fuels, and of clean environmental systems that can sustain the introduction of byproducts from the use of fuel, and the relative abundance of alternative technologies and technological materials.
Money is still an extremely valuable tool, but it is not nearly as valuable as in the past, due to its relatively simple and biased nature compared to the complex issues that we have. Use of money as a tool determines that whatever is the cheapest recognizable alternative will most likely be the product that is consumed the most.
There are a couple of modern day developments that have compounded issues and undermined the integrity of this selection process.
First, is the above mentioned state of our material and economic system. This compounds the problem of selection by adding many alternatives into the situation for consideration and study, and also places a high importance on conservation of fuel resources and environmental resources. It is complex and difficult to evaluate the true value of these resources and whether the effects of their expenditure will be beneficial and how beneficial it will be. These are problems that don’t fit easily into the value scheme proposed by our current system of money.
Second is that the science of manipulation of a product’s apparent value has been highly developed. This means that it is extremely hard to judge what product really is the cheapest, because providers are constantly and competitively trying to achieve cheapness and the illusion of value for low value products in order to monetize. Consider that if you have to buy two products in the life time of one alternative product, there may be more money expended, and more pollution may be generated. The actual lifetime of the product may not be easily estimated at the time of purchase, especially when confronted with deceptive tactics used by providers in order to generate higher profits.