Why a Burger Should Cost $200

Raj Patel battles Stephen Colbert.

Raj Patel bravely took on Stephen Colbert earlier this week to promote his new book, The Value of Nothing. I'm a huge fan of Patel's last book, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World's Food System.

Patel describes the premise for his new book as coming from an Oscar Wilde quote: "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." I look forward to getting Patel's newest book in my paws for a read -- so far, he's made some interesting points, although it's always hard to get to the heart of things sitting across the table from Colbert.

Still Patel made a valiant effort.

Prices in the free markets, Patel explained "work to hide a great deal, we need different ways of valuing the world other than relying on the free market."

Patel uses an example of a hamburger, saying that if you figure in the social and environmental costs we should be paying 200 bucks for a burger, which would of course mean we'd need to rethink the way we are eating. Sounds like a plan!

"We need to pay the full cost for what it is we consume, other wise we are dumping our environmental costs on," oh shucks, that's when Colbert cuts him off.

Colbert for his part had some great lines. Here's one:

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Tara Lohan is a senior editor at AlterNet.