The End of Commercialism - Need Your Idea's

Discussion in 'Globalization' started by Brocktoon, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    It seems to me we have developed the most frustrating situation in our global economies.
    At this point.. nothing is 'real'.
    What I mean is - we are literally building to rebuild, consume to consume and repeat.

    I dont think I need to explain the dilema of consumerism to most people in here, however I think Ive stumbled across a real, workable way to escape this evil beast.


    This was true back in the early days of the home electronics revolution.
    Personally, I have a phone that is about 40 years old.
    It works perfectly fine.

    Soon after it was engineered, we started creating 'disposable' crap because it probably dawned on the people making phones - they would eventually have no more jobs creating phones.

    OK .. So the corporations will NOT go along with this but why cant WE find ways to do this.
    You wont make any money - so that should eliminate any pretenders.

    Now Im trying to think of ways to beat the system.
    The goal is to buy one item and have it last as longggggg as possible (and be as upgradeable and useful as possible).

    Now they find ways around this. by changing the technology as they go (rendering my perfectly good analog cell phone obsolete or expensive)

    But still.. what can you suggest to end consumerism in YOUR daily life?
    Remember - its not 'either or'.

    In my case, I deliberately bought a computer which has room for maximum upgrading.
    Its 5 years old and I still have no intentions or reasons to buy a new one.

    One thing I REALLY like are the 'wind up' Radio's out there.
    Very solid and do not require batteries to be consumed again and again.

    Another way to eliminate the 'rotating consumerism' is simply patience.
    I refuse to buy a DVD player until they come out with a DVD/RW (and ideally VHS Combo)
    That way Im not buying a DVD player twice (like almost everyone will be doing).
    Keep in mind, they absolutely deliberately 'stage' these releases to the public because they KNOW you cant tape shows with a DVD player, So you still need your VHS... THEN release DVD/RW so you 'Re-buy' again.

    Anyone who digs what im getting at - Drop your ideas here!

    This could change the world if we can find the ways and use our imaginations.
  2. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned


    I forgot to mention my biggest contribution to all this.. Im planning to build (ok contractors will do that) a concrete house.
    the house has a life expectancy of ...well.. centuries!
    The unique 'anti-consumerism' aspect of it will be the way all electricals, plumbing and heating will be able to be 'detachable'.
    This way, if new or more efficient ways come about - they can be switched out very easily.
    The Heating is planned to include stone fireplaces (so i dont 'need' electricity)

    Just thought I would mention that as my way to effectively 'END' the need to 'tear down' and 'rebuild' a house in my (or my childrens) lifetime.
  3. Kandahar

    Kandahar Banned

    The best way to improve the quality of products is by encouraging free market competition. For example, Kodak/Fuji/Samsung/Sony all produce quality cameras...because if they don't, they'll be out of business.

    And why are you complaining about a new wave of products rendering your analog phone "obsolete"? It's the same phone it was when you bought it. People who like their old phones can keep them, and people who like the new (and frankly, better) phones can buy those. No one is forcing you to "upgrade."
  4. atropine

    atropine Member

    well on bigger scales.. some kinda are bullied into upgrading..

    say you have an 8track player, you saved up for months to buy it when you were 17.. yet they quickly became obsolete and nowadays how often is it to see one? nothing is made to be compatible with them, so if you want to listen to any music (that isnt decades old) you have to upgrade and buy a cd player..(or tape atleast)
  5. Disarm

    Disarm Member

    I don't think theres much a of large scale conspiracy here, they slow their releases and push back release dates but I doubt things are soley designed for their incompatibility with the previous..
  6. Disarm

    Disarm Member

    Personally, I make a lot of things myself. When I can't I just keep fixing and doing up what I have, I also save up for the better more expensive things with longer lives. For instance I have a high quality VHS and I see no point in buying a dvd player because I can record on the tape, and play dvds on the playstation. Buying things for multi uses means if some parts get obsolete theres still use in the item..
  7. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    Im with you on the whole 'multi-use' aspect of this.
    I had asked my local shop when I will be able to buy a combination digital video camera/still camera/webcam.

    Early in 2004 the salesman actually scoffed out loud and then explained himself by saying the companies can easily create such a 'combo' camera,,, but... they would 'lose money'.
    I refused to buy any of those items individually.. and now they have indeed come out with a new 'all in one' Camera.

    Im still not sure if i will buy one but if I do - it will be sturdy, have basic features and high enough quality that I will have no use for another digital camera/video camera or webcam for ... decades if possible.

    I really wish we could find a way to make cars that last for 25-35 years again.
    Long gone are the days of the Dodge Dart it seems
  8. chaos

    chaos Member

    a concrete house... ive heard you can get some bigtime moisture problems if you build a house out of concrete... have you looked into yurts? they are very simple, and very practical can be built in a couple of days, then taken down and moved someplace else or used as a permanent home.
    also dome homes and straw bale are both interesting and long lasting forms of building.

    endless warfare, this is the dream of the corportations. weapons are very expensive and need to be replaced at a high rate during wars.
  9. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    I was checking out these Dabrro Concrete homes with foam barriers which they 'tout' as being moisture proof.
    I suppose good old stone masonry would be ideal (my neighbours in Scotland had the 300 year old stone construction - surprisingly warm and not as damp as you would imagine).

    Now. the Straw Bale homes are definately very interesting to me because they are tried and tested on the Prairies.
    (again.. consumerists dont like us having them because they are basically self supporting, easy to maintain and are self regulating to a high degree)


    I cant say Ive ever heard about those?
  10. Increased disposable income by knock on effect creates this faster turn over in more disposable goods.

    It is one of the massive failings of our industrial society that we make things that break down so quickly.

    As people become poorer in the future they will start to buy longer lasting products and that will in turn become an important factor in the design of products.

    I too try to buy things that will last a long time now as I know I won't be able to buy as much in the future.

    One thing that really anoys me is shoes. I can't ever buy a pair that doesn't wear out in a year. I'm sure people used to have shoes for much longer!!! I'm going to buy some sturdy good walking boots and hope they last a long time.
  11. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    Bang-on Fishbowl.. .. and over here, the Haves are getting more and more every year.. and are turning over consumables faster and faster.
    Its nothing to see Haves buying a new set of cellphones for themselves and their children (as young as 5)

    I too have realised that any of us left behind in the 'Poors' better start thinking ahead now.
    Ive already noticed that many of the Poors in my neighbourhood have begun living without cars after the last ones died on them.

    Ya.. Shoes.. definately!
    For whatever reason.. I have discovered that Adidas runners will last me for nearly two years under normal circumstances.
    I suppose they can really fuck us over by building them to disintegrate faster and faster.

    One guy I know bought a pair of hand-made shoes from the local Natives - and honestly he has worn them daily for almost 5 years!
  12. artful_dodger

    artful_dodger Member

    I buy a lot of stuff second-hand. A lot of older goods are simply better and more durable. My 50 year old Griswold cast iron frying pan just feels better than one I can buy new... it's well-seasoned, and has a surface like glass.

    We make a lot of stuff ourselves, too. My fiance made adorable beds for our daughters almost entirely out of wood scavenged from the side of the road.

    I'm always sure to pass things on when I'm done with them, rather than throwing them away. Magazines go to the laundromat or the thriftstore. Newspaper goes to the college's ceramics department for raku firing, etc...

    Getting involved in the gift-economy is important, too. I donate a lot of my time to my local IndyMedia. I also plan to get involved in more skill-sharing this year.
  13. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    More than just physical products - Companies deliberately plan 'artificial' demands.
    Example - I work as a computer repair technician.
    No less than 80% of ALL the work we do (and money made per minute by tech support) is solving dilemas EASILY solved by the customers IF ONLY they saved their files (pictures resumes etc) to CD's and DVD (or even webspace).
    Then, simply REFORMAT their computer.

    Its that simple!

    Now.. many computer owners are becoming more computer literate and almost everyone has (or can afford) a CD/R (if not a DVD R/RW) etc.

    But NOOOOOO... Several manufactures are NO LONGER sending Restore CD's with your purchase.
    SOME let you make your own ONCE .. (no reason for that other than to deliberately keep customers from getting a second chance).

    Now.. the very latest machines are NOT coming with ANY restore options and in the case of one increasingly shitty hpcompany - are not even letting US order it.

    Another Company has begun making there Restore CD's needlessly complicated and requiring Video drivers on another CD (no reason other than to deliberately make it more complicated for a home user).

    So simpy put - REFUSE to buy ANY computer unless it comes with easy to use Recovery CD's. (or DVD)
    Back up any files you would not want to lose.

    I have gone 5 years and experienced every possible form of registry corruption, blue screen, system failure, virus, trojan, and none of it will ever mean anything more than 45 minutes - as long as i have my boot disks and CD.

    This is my way of ending 'artificial consumption of services'
  14. artful_dodger

    artful_dodger Member

    Artificial needs are a big part of the consumer problem... getting beyond that is going to take a deep paradigm shift for more people.
    Thank you for the tips! Knowledge and understanding truly is power.
  15. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    hehe.. sorry if I was 'ranting' on about it all - but it really bugs me how this 'artificial need' is 'tricked' on the public.

    OK.. I dont know if 'Artificial' is the best word?

    But I think everyone knows what we mean by 'artificial' - Consumption of service or goods 'Needlessly'.
    Consumption or the sake of Consumption.

    I was recently speaking to a Mechanic at a certain Dealership who explained a similar 'Artificial Need' being created by the Big Corp.
    - Newer Vehicles were coming with these 'Sealed Hubs'.
    Him and the rest of the Mechanics debated the purpose of this for days.
    They concluded the ONLy Possible Explanation is that it required a special set of tools only distributed to them and this companies 'authorised' service techs.

    So... Something consumers could easily do themselves was now something that Must require a trip to the service bay.

    Thats what I call an 'Artificial' need.

    To me.. this is why I say we live in a 'Fake' economy.
    We are no longer trying to improve the world, or actually 'make things better' - we are deliberately engineering a big hamster wheel!

    Running in circles for the sake of running in circles I say
  16. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    ArtfulDodger.. BTW, I agree 100% with your term 'Paradigm Shift'.

    It really does involve the public at large to 'Re-think' the very basic ways they see consuming and 'why' they consume.
    To 'What End?' they consume.

    Example - In the case of the 'Sealed Hubs' (making simple greasing impossible for the customer)... ...Ive been told some savvy owners are simply drilling their own holes in the hub and capping them, allowing themselves to grease the hubs and extending the life of these parts.

    That to me is a great example of 'fighting back' against this artificially induced consuming!
  17. artful_dodger

    artful_dodger Member

    I'm pretty sure that the phrase that sociologists & economists use is an "acquired need." That is, one that comes from outside, rather than something internal. But, yeah, artificial needs gets the idea across quite well.

    Amy Dacyczyn has a lot of great essays about this in The Complete Tightwad Gazette. I'd recommend picking it up... it's full of tons of little ways to save money and consume less, but it also has some interesting philosophical stuff.
  18. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    I realised after posting the topic it might have been better titled 'The End of Consumerism'?

    Great link on the Dacyczyn Essays!
    Im gonna check that out, Thanks!
  19. sentient

    sentient Senior Member

    I once made a potato man out of two potatoes and a few matchsticks - but its nowhere near as clever as a concrete house
  20. gardener

    gardener Realistic Humanist

    I am heartened to see so many young people interested in becoming responsible consumers.

    The cheapest is many times not the best option. Like Brocktoon I bought a custom made computer in 1999. And it's still my primary computer. I've upgraded and added on to while friends that bought Gateways, Compaqs and HPs are on their second and third computers. I may have paid more initially, but they have exceeded my computer costs by at least 300% over the same period of time. And I've been called in numerous times to save their butts when they experienced problems with them. In fact they have given me their old computers and I've used their old hard drives, ram and chips to upgrade my computer for no cost to myself. While they went out and bought a new cheap computer.

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