Monday, May 04, 2009

"Good Enough" Counterrevolution

This post is essentially my comment to the "Good-Enough" Revolution post which I think worthwhile to be turned into separate article. Besides - I didn't wrote anything non-technical for a long time... "Good-Enough" Revolution stands that many contemporary goods are "good enough" to be used and hence consumer often do not have motivation to buy a new version of the same good (e.g. man using Windows XP wouldn't go for Window Vista as XP is good enough for most of every day tasks, like e-mail, Internet or editing some office documents). While this observation is absolutely correct I think that important point is missed - contemporary goods are deliberately created not to be durable to compel consumer to, well, consume.

A silent "Good-Enough" Counterrevolution is in its high. Producers do not create goods that are designed to last any more. Almost anything you are buying nowadays is deliberately designed to last for a short, programmed time and then broke. I think that the only consumer strategy to deal with it is to buy the cheapest version of an appliance you need - it would usually serve you the same time as its high-end version, while cost a half of it.

Your washing machine served you for 10 years? – I bet that a new one would not stand for more than 2-3 years. Your old electric kettle worked for 5-7 years? - Buy a new one and it would leak in a year or so. Talk to guys who are working in electronics service/repair centers and they would tell you that stuff nowadays is PROGRAMMED to work for a predefined time and then broke. A friend of mine who works in a big car repairs firm told me that every car accumulator that occasionally served significantly more than a guaranty period is sent to the lab for examination to check out why did it lasted so long and didn’t broke. An observation about "good enough" was correct, but it's not applicable to the new goods - manufacturers are not interested in you wiping yourself with the same towels till your golden years. No, you should buy towels, use them and then buy new ones. We all are squirrels that have to rotate wheels of economy. No one asks squirrel whether it wants to get our of a squirrel-wheel marathon, right?

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