Academic/activist/writer Raj Patel appeared on The Colbert Report Tuesday to discuss his new book, "The Value of Nothing." The title comes from a quote by Oscar Wilde, which is telling in and of itself: "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."
Patel argues that prices in the free market are deceiving, and that the hidden costs of our consumption can actually end up causing environmental harm. Food, for example, causes a lot of environmental damage that is not reflected in the price.
"I give the example of a $200 hamburger," Patel said. "The trouble is that it's a regular hamburger, but the fact is that if you add in the hidden costs of environmental destruction behind it for example, that cost could add up to $200."
Colbert retorts: "So are you saying that if I go to the drive-thru at a burger establishment represented by a jolly clown, that I should be paying $200 for their big burger?"
Suffice it to say, we would be eating very differently if we did pay the true value of what we eat, Patel replied.
WATCH Colbert's full interview with Patel: