Yes, I was reading breaking news delivered right in my inbox. While scrolling down, I realized an advertisement for a petite looking knife that caught my attention. Gorgeous, it truly distracted me, I jumped on to see what the knife was. The description was truly enticing, as I kept scrolling further, more pictures on the angles of the cutting edge popped up. The price, $52 for a single piece. Poor me, I stopped there.
Well, as I reflected, I realized, life is like that. They will never market a whetstone, even a Coticule quarried from Ardennes to hone the knife, but sell us products that will last only a finite period of time. Planned obsolescence is a step further, the product itself is designed to last a certain period of time. China alone is not responsible, almost the entire economy of most manufacturing countries, electronics included, rest on this foundation.
As a child, I still remember the ceiling fan my father installed at our home. It was manufactured by USHA and it lasted almost 45 years, just once we had to change the coil. I still remember, my friend’s father, bought a refrigerator in 1965 while returning from his fellowship in the US. That refrigerator lasted their family for an almost similar period of time, except for refilling freon. That’s the value add, a true value to your purchase.
The Culture of Durability
Accepted, nothing is permanent. We all know, the Stonehenge too disappeared over a period of time. Natural course of events, eventually denude and overwhelm all existing structure, living or material. However, planning for quick and early disuse, so that the customer/consumer keep buying repeatedly, reflects lack of ethos. Obsolescence by design is a concern. Obsolescence as a natural phenomenon is acceptable.
That culture of durability is replaced with the ethos of obsolescence. We keep working to drain our hard-earned money buying products that keep giving up on us frequently, never realizing the price is our bait. It is wrong to say, that only China is responsible, even the traders in the local market and those who collect taxes are responsible. To keep spinning their cycle of business, obsolescence is beneficial. However, we are gullible, not to realize that there exist a systemic ignorance and a steady erosion of the value of our money.
Shashank Heda, Dallas, Texas