The scandal of planned technological obsolescence
6th August, 2008
Our economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, the that we seek our spiritual satisfaction in consumption…
Little has changed since retail analyst Victor Lebow made this eloquent paean to our juggernaut, throwaway society in 1955. Just 18 months ago President George Bush responded to fears of a US recession, with a paean of his own: ‘I encourage y’all go shopping more.’
Poetic or not, both statements reveal a fundamental truth: that it is consumption, not production, that powers our economies. It’s arguable this has delivered an unprecedented increase in the standard of living, but at what cost?
According to international sustainability expert Annie Leonard, creator of the wonderful film Story of Stuff the amount of products that remain in use six months after purchase is a pitiful one per cent. Each year in Europe around seven million tonnes of electronic waste is generated, and in spite of the new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations, much is still finding its way to landfill. Then there’s the waste, or ‘embedded energy’, produced in the production process. Scientists have estimated that producing a single computer chip, weighing but a few grams, requires 1.7kg of fossil fuel and chemical inputs, and...
To view the rest of this article - you must be a paying subscriber and Login
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.