Rotten society of disposable chairs

These days there is the perception that commodities are not made to last long. Talk to anyone and they will tell you how the washing machine suddenly stopped working after just two years, while the one at their parents has been there doing the job for more than 20.

The question is then, is this just a perception, or are there some real facts behind? The concept of planned obsolescence has been out there for a while actually. From Wikipedia: “a policy of deliberately planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete or nonfunctional after a certain period of time”.

It has its origins in 1924, when the most important producers of bulbs got together and decided to limit the lifetime of this product to 1,000 hours (with the technology available at the moment, bulbs could last 2,500 hours). Bulbs came first, but a whole range of other products followed afterwards, as it is clearly explained in the documentary Buy, Throw, Buy. Art is also tackling this issue, (re)using “obsolete” electronic devices to give them new uses, or simply to point out the issue.

Today I feel that obsolescence is not only planned from production, somehow it has made the way into our minds. Commodities not only stop working, but get out of hype. Who wants the precedent model of the XYZ mobile when the new one hits the market? Why bother buying good quality durable clothes when you can get cheap sweatshop-made ones and change your style every season? The same goes for furniture (e.g. the four letter global brand I do not want to mention) and a long etcetera.

This leads me to the title of this post. I was walking around the university and came across a disposal point. Plenty of  swivel chairs were to be thrown away. Nice perfectly functioning chairs bought with public money. One was rescued and has a new cheerful life; I’m sitting on it writing this. The rest might be resting in landfills now. Tons of plastic, fabric, metal buried in the land while we dig the same land to gather new resources.

Landfills, not to be seen but they are there and they are growing non stop. Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente (Eyes that do not see, heart that does not feel)

Picture by BACKYard Woods Explorer

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