More on “Purity”

Interesting essay on Treehugger that riffs on criticism of vinyl windows as an example of “free-market utopian[ism].” As author John Laumer points out, vinyl windows are one of the most affordable means available of making a building more energy-efficient. This becomes a metaphor, though, for “absolutism and uncritical thinking on both sides of the debate.” I’m perfectly comfortable with products that use a little available, though unsustainable, material to create an economic and environmental benefit. What I’d want to know in this case, though, is the old “cost-benefit” ratio: is there a greater benefit derived from widespread use of vinyl windows than the costs (all the costs) of making and using vinyl?

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