by, 04-13-12 at 06:52 AM (1275 Views)
So do people like buying crap? It would seem so. Maybe they don't mind.
Buy more crap, America!
Planned obsolescence is purposely building inferior products to increase a company’s bottom line. The consumer is then “forced” to purchase yet another can opener, DVD player, or other poorly made product because it was purposely made with inferior materials and produced by inferior labor. So while the customers and underpaid laborers are exploited, and the environment is raped, the companies continue to rake in record profits.
Planned obsolescence creates massive amounts of toxic waste which is then dumped into the environment. It also produces inferior, worthless products that need constant replacement; furthermore, it decreases technological advancement. There are countries, such as the UK, that banned this practice. However, so few products are made in the UK that this has proved pointless. The US would likely see the same results. So what can be done about it?
A large part of the problem is that so many products are made in third world countries, and then imported. So how can Planned Obsolescence be outlawed when there are ways around that? The logical solution is to provide incentive for companies to produce products in the US. This can be done by reducing corporate taxes, reducing taxes for small businesses, eliminating sarbanes oxley, and providing tax credits to companies who produce products in the US. This would bring jobs back to this country as well as making a law against Planned Obsolescence more effective.
Some people might ask how this new law would affect the workforce since less products would be needed. The answer: I do not believe that less products will be needed. If the market is saturated with quality products, like can openers or DVD players, then companies would be forced to make better products or different products. This would create more innovation, more quality, and less waste.
How do companies achieve planned obsolescence? As they use inferior materials to make products, the cost of replacement becomes comparable to the cost of repair. Furthermore, companies purposely make products that do not integrate with other similar products to force consumer loyalty to brand names. Products are even made in such a way that after a certain time span, they can no longer be used. Therefore, the customer is forced to buy another product in its place. So with different connections and peripheral devices, a product becomes a money pit instead of an investment. To make matters worse, many designs are copyrighted so making them compatible with other similar devices is exceedingly difficult. This reflects the debt-ridden, throw-away society America has become. We not only buy crap, but we have learned to accept it. And some products are seemingly made by unscrupulous con artists with the morals of a sociopath.
"…a 4-colour inkjet printer that is used mostly for printing in gray scale and seldom in colour, may be pre-programmed to deplete colour inks while printing black, so that the colour cartridge(s) must be replaced about the same time as the black ink cartridge."
Talk about screwing the customer. The devious planning that goes into conning consumers is outrageous. It should be illegal for products to be programmed or designed to expire, or use more resources for the sole benefit of the companies involved.
The worst results of Planned Obsolescence are the environmental damages it causes as well as the delays in technological advancement. If companies are merely replacing substandard products with more crappy products, what is the incentive to create more innovative, advanced products? The only incentive I can see is to continue to produce more junk until the landfills overflow. We are slowly destroying the environment, and ultimately ourselves, for short term gain. And what’s tragic: no one seems to notice or care.
What are my solutions? I have vowed to reduce and eventually eliminate my consumption of these products. This will take time and money. But I believe that in less than a decade, my family and I can be reasonably self sufficient, and we will need much less from Walmart and other department stores which sell overpriced crap.
So should people boycott all major department stores? Sadly, there is the appearance of variety in American stores these days, but this is only an illusion. If Americans demand quality, and they are willing to make sacrifices (and I don’t believe that they are) things would change. The customer has the ultimate power. Sure, corporations can lobby for tax loopholes and subsidies, but they depend on us for their income.
How can Americans avoid being thoughtless consumers?
Step one: learn to be happy with less
Step two: less exposure to the mass media and commercialism
Step three: learn to be more self-sufficient
It’ll be a while for me before I meet my goal of more self-sufficiency but already, I am exposing my family to less mass media, and that’s a very important step. It’s through tv commercials that most people are deceived. They are easily conned into commercialism while in a hypnotic state. Turn off the television! It’s one of the worst things to happen to this country. In my opinion, Americans are undervalued “consumers” and companies are taking us for granted. They have forgotten that we pay their bills. Let us remind them.
Idea: Planned obsolescence | The Economist
Planned obsolescence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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