Audit Notes: Pretty-Penny Paywall, Booty, Fair Trade

The New York Times says it is spending more than $7 million every three months to develop its paywall.

(CEO Janet) Robinson said the company has moved ” into active development mode, building systems and infrastructure needed to support commerce.” When one analyst guessed that the company might be spending $5 million to $7 million per quarter developing its pay system, chief financial officer James Follo said the actual price tag is “a little higher than that.”

That better be one heckuva paywall!

— Well, it’s come to this.

The Wall Street Journal: “How To Get A Booty Like Beyonce

The New York Times looked this weekend at an American apparel company making clothes in the Dominican Republic and paying an actual living wage—three-and-a-half times the minimum wage—and asks “but can it thrive?”

One question I rarely see discussed regarding free trade is just how much more would it cost to do things right—much less how much it would cost to make the same thing in the U.S. Here we get the former, at least:

Mr. Bozich says the factory’s cost will be $4.80 a T-shirt, 80 cents or 20 percent more than if it paid minimum wage. Knights will absorb a lower-than-usual profit margin, he said, without asking retailers to pay more at wholesale.
Paying these Dominican workers fair wages adds 80 cents to the cost of a T-shirt. Eighty cents! And the Times, in its headline, has to ask (with reason) whether the American marketplace can take such an insult.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.