During my in-depth research on the matter, I came across a little project that the folks at Patagonia clothing are doing. It entails examining the economic and environmental impacts of some of their products. It turns out that the polyester shirt made in Thailand might use less electricity, create less waste, and be a better overall use of resources than an organic wool shirt made in the US (or something like that). In any case, the answers aren't always as clear cut as we might imagine.
Patagonia has a big section on their website devoted to this project. They call it The Footprint Chronicles. There are detailed videos and slideshows illustrating each step of a given item's manufacture. Trust old Stevie Joe when he tells you that you can spend a great deal of time looking at all this stuff. Maybe the price you pay for their merchandise is worth it after all.
Sustain is not just a sign of a good guitar,
Stevie Joe Parker