Friday, November 26, 2021

Black Friday

Here we are at Black Friday again, and it seems that enough container ships coming from China made it to port and were unloaded in time to make most consumers happy with things that will fill our landfills in no time flat. The goods delivered to us from foreign manufacturers amount to trillions of dollars in cost with a balance of trade deficit that would quickly cripple a smaller nation. But few questions are asked.

Some while back, economists and policy makers decided that we'd have a service economy rather than one that relied on making the things we need. Then we entered an "information age," in which exchange of information over the television and computer screens would earn our keep. It's time a few of us call BS.

The opportunity cost of spending so much on foreign made stuff is that we've lost the character and intelligence that's derived from making things for ourselves.

Most folks just want the things we buy cheap to actually work. A news host on the radio yesterday complained that she'd bought 4 baby monitors, each one too soon after the other. What she wanted was just one that worked. She described her dismay at seeing each failed unit and its packaging going into the trash. And she complained that none could be fixed. And that is the dreadful state we're in except for a few additional effects.

Making all this stuff uses the world's resources in a wanton manner. 
Having human beings making things of poor quality is a waste of human resources wherever.
The cost of international shipping places a huge toll on our oceans and resources.
We spend a huge amount of time shopping for the same old stuff.
We learn and grow too little in the process.
We isolate our own citizenry from the natural creative processes and the feelings of empowerment they provide. 
Landfills are a scar upon our planet that will last forever, and our lives are filled with meaningless stuff.

"Not so many things, but better, must be the cry of the consumer, and things good enough to be a joy in the making must be the demand of the worker, and until these demands become peremptory we shall hope in vain for a civilization that shall be worth while." —Architect Will Price, founder of the Rose ValleyArt Colony in suburban Philadelphia.

Make, fix and create. 

1 comment:

  1. We have to fight to have better legislation
    - against programmed obsolescence;
    - to have repairable goods(if not perpetually, at least for many many years);
    - against those electric appliances that can not be completely turned off by way of the built in switch (in cause: separate power supplies);
    - ...

    The so said "circular economy" is just greenwashing of programmed obsolescence.

    We have to explain to our kids that "new" doesn't necessarily equates to:
    - good;
    - better;
    - necessary;
    - progress;
    - ...