What you are saying, is largely what the proponents of syndicalism have been saying (for over a century). And anyone who's worked in an industrial shop will immediately see the truth in your statements.
But that presumes that 'we' want widgets, better or otherwise; or that 'we' are willing to accept the cost of time, energy, and pollution to produce widgets of any ilk.
Because, despite the protestations of 'Economists' everywhere, the production and distribution of the necessities and luxuries of life are _Social_ functions - that society decides in one way or another what it wants and how much harm it's conscience can bear, and everything else is just paperwork and bookkeeping. (This is a lot truer than is first apparent. Every system of economics starts with pretty principles, then starts soldering on 'exceptions' and 'externalities' to compensate for its uglier aspects (that the author's conscience can't bear) - such as, oh, leaving the unproductive and elderly to starve since they are not producing profit for the 'system'. )
Another interesting aspect is who gets to decide whether 'resources' are exploited? To give a rather pointed example: Let us say your workplace (and its city of millions) has decided to produce some shiny high-tech widget, but that widget requires a very specific mineral for its manufacture; now the easiest location to mine that mineral just happens to be under my farm - the farm that has been occupied by my family for three generations and tended with our blood sweat and tears. Now if you ask if you can bulldoze my fields and orchards and woodlots to strip mine the land - then i would say 'No.'* So what does your imaginary society do? Does it take no for answer and forgo its shiny toys, or does it force me and mine off the land and take what it wants by force? (and we both know how this would turn out in the world we live in now ... is that something we wish to copy?)
* - Yeah, 'No' would be the least colorful thing i would utter in such a circumstance.
(ps:: Be welcome k.lin; some of us aren't exactly sociable in our comments (ok, mostly me), but we all benefit from and are grateful for honest questions and thoughtful comments, and that goes to all of you who have joined us of late.)