The Price of a Bargain

The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization

Published by Palgrave Macmillan (USA), McClelland & Stewart (Canada), Xiron Books (China), Minumsa (Korea), Wu-Nan Books (Taiwan/Hong Kong).

An important and timely book lays bare the planet's foolhardy hunger for getting a deal. . . . In a masterful blend of facts and metaphors, Laird tells a story of bargain retailing that is interesting in its own right. . . . evocative . . . Laird lays bare the cost of those bargains in compelling detail.” 
The Globe and Mail 

“Financial journalist Laird, who is from Canada, that healthier economy to the north, takes a sidelong look at the eternal quest for the cheapest possible goods. ... An alarm call, but not alarmist.”
– Kirkus Reviews

Since the rise of Wal-Mart as a economic force in the 1970s, an unprecedented wave of cheap stuff has given consumers access to new products, new technologies and a sense of wealth that previous generations didn't enjoy. And more people around the world are looking for this dream of having more for less. From Alberta’s tar sands to China’s factories, from Las Vegas to the Arctic Circle, a single question emerges: who will survive the bargain?

More about The Price of a Bargain

Price of a Bargain editions

Mainland China

  • The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization
    The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization
    by Gordon Laird

    American print edition

  • The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization
    The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization
    by Gordon Laird

    Canadian print edition

  • Food And Fuel
    Food And Fuel
    by Andrew Heintzman

    A 2008 anthology featuring Laird's reporting from Canada's eastern Arctic and Central Asia

  • Power, Journeys Across An Energy Nation
    Power, Journeys Across An Energy Nation
    by Gordon Laird

    2001 Bestseller / Top 100 books of 2001, Globe and Mail

    Purchase here!

Select Features & Op-eds

What the Calgary Stampede means to Canada,” The Globe and Mail, June 2012. The new West may be the best West: the Stampede as the secret to Calgary's success?

 “Office of the President,” The Walrus, September 2010. Profile of University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera and the future of higher education in Canada. 

At the Frontier of Energy” in Food and Fuel: Solutions for the Future, 2009 (originally published in Report on Business magazine and the Far Eastern Economic Review) with Thomas Homer-Dixon, Eric Schlosser, Jeremy Rifkin, Evan Solomon and Andrew Heintzman.

"The True Cost of Homelessness," The Toronto Star, June 2007. Part of a national speaking tour for Shelter that advanced the idea of a business case to reduce homelessness in Canada.

"Capital Calgary: lord of the bling" The Globe and Mail, January 2006. On the rising political fortunes of Canada's cowboy capital; features interviews with late former premier Peter Lougheed and other notable Albertans.

"The Big Thaw," Report on Business magazine, September 2003. An investigative feature on the Mackenzie Delta pipeline project.

"Bucking the System," The Globe and Mail, July 2003. A documentary feature on Calgary's annual gay rodeo.

 

Books & Review Clippings

The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization (M&S Canada, Palgrave-MacMillian USA, 2009).

 “An important and timely book. In a masterful blend of facts and metaphors, Laird tells a story of bargain retailing that is interesting in its own right. . . . evocative . . . Laird lays bare the cost of those bargains in compelling detail.” 
– The Globe and Mail 

“Financial journalist Laird, who is from Canada, that healthier economy to the north, takes a sidelong look at the eternal quest for the cheapest possible goods. ... An alarm call, but not alarmist.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“A provocative, well-researched, and illuminating tour of the forces shaping our consumer culture.”
– Triple Pundit 

“Thorough, informed and relevant. . . . Neither shrill nor self-absolving, Laird quietly questions where we’ve been and where we’re headed.”

– Halifax Chronicle-Herald

“Gordon Laird is a reporter of rare skill and extraordinary thoughtfulness, and he has fixed his keen eye on one of the most crucial questions of this young, tumultuous century: the true cost of things.”

– Chris Turner, author of The Geography of Hope and The Leap 

 

Shelter: Homelessness in a Growth Economy (Chumir Foundation, 2007) 

 “After six years of work, the Calgary author has produced a dispassionate, all-encompassing look at homelessness in Canada. While Shelter might be a cool, objective analysis, it’s bound to incite an emotional response from anyone who reads it. . . . Laird’s report is a call to action that must not be ignored. It should be required reading for every politician in Canada.” 

– Roy Clancy, Calgary Sun

“Journalist and author Gordon Laird argues homelessness is now chronic and is quickly becoming one of the country's defining social issues. He makes a case for a national housing strategy and a more robust income security program. Citing statistics from a wide range of organizations, Laird says poverty is the leading cause of homelessness in Canada, not substance abuse or mental illness.  . . .While new investments in affordable housing were made in 2005, there is no national strategy and so no guarantee the money will be well-spent.”
– CBC News, “Homelessness 'chronic' in Canada: study” 

 

POWER: Journeys Across an Energy Nation (Penguin, 2002)

Power astounds the casual reader... Laird’s fascinating and compelling tales highlight the arrogance of Canada’s power ideology as well as its inflexibility.”
Andrew Nikiforuk, The Globe and Mail

“It’s rare when reading that I’m shaken by revelations that seem worthy of a seer or prophet. Such insights await the reader of Gordon Laird’s prophetic Power. . . His is a refreshing, maverick view that breaks with the simplistic solutions championed by the anti-globalization movement.”
John Bacher, NOW Magazine

“Gordon Laird is a storyteller of astonishing talent.  . . . Power confirms his knack for a good yarn.”
The Georgia Strait

“Timely and sweeping. . .  An engaging and sobering treatment of a complex subject.”
Canadian Geographic

 

Slumming It at the Rodeo: The Cultural Roots of Canada’s Right-Wing Revolution (Douglas & McIntyre, 1998)

"Praise the Lord for Gordon Laird's experience in cleaning stables: it lets him sniff out manure."
– Irshad Manji

“A compelling and original book. Laird understand the value of entertaining readers while informing them. . . . A valuable primer for those puzzled Canadians who want to understand how politics works in this country.”
– Peter C. Newman, Vancouver Sun

“A lively and insightful look at the rise of the Right.”
– Linda McQuaig