The Story of Stuff

Published by giltrix under on 6:53 AM

Teaser 1
It's all about externalizing the cost.
What that means is that the real costs of making stuff aren't captured in the price.
In other words, we aren't paying for the stuff we buy. I was thinking about this the other day. I was walking to work and I wanted to listen to the news, so I popped into Radio Shack to buy a radio. I found this cute little green radio for $4.99. I was standing there in line to buy this thing and I was thinking: how could $4.99 possibly capture the cost of making this radio and getting it into my hands?
The metal was probably mined in South Africa. The petroleum was probably drilled in Iraq. The Plastics were probably produced in China and maybe the whole thing was assembled by some 15 year old in a maquiladora in Mexico.
$4.99 wouln't even pay the rent for the shelf space it occupied until I came along, let alone part of the stuff guy's salary who helped me take it out or the multiple ocean cruises and truck rides pieces of this radio went on.
That's how I realized I didn't pay for the radio,
so, who did pay?

Teaser 2
Planned obsolescence is another word for designed for the dump.
It means they actually make stuff to be useless as quickly as possible so we'll chuck it and buy a new one.
It's obvious with things like plastic bags and coffee cups, but now it's even big stuff: mops, DVDs, cameras, barbeques even, everything!
Even computers. Have you noticed that when you buy a computer now, the technology is changing so fast that in just a couple of years it's actually an impediment to comunication?
I was curious about this so I opened up a big desktop computer to see what was inside it and I found out that the piece that changes each year is just a tiny little piece in the corner but you can't just change that one piece because each new version is a different shape so you have to chuck the whole thing and buy a new one.

Teaser 3
In the Us we spend three to four times as many hours shopping as our counterparts in Europe do.
So we are in this ridiculous situation where we go to work, maybe two jobs even, and then we come home and we're exhausted so we plop down on our new couch and watch tv
And the commercials tell us: you suck, so you gotta go to the mall and buy something to feel better and then we gotta go to work more paying for the stuff we just bought and we come home (...) and watch more tv and (...) go to mall again.
And we're on this crazy work watch spend treadmill.
And we could just STOP.