22/07/2013

Manufactured to break

It is called ‘planned obsolescence’ to the determination of the end of life of a product, so that, after a certain period of time determined by the manufacturer, the product becomes obsolete, useless.

The aim of this practice is the economic profit: at some point the product will fail, and force —although this is always relative— the consumer to buy another. And so on. This production system generates a huge amount of waste, causing an environmental problem, due in large part to the lack of proper management of these wastes.

Any product is susceptible to planned obsolescence: from a mobile to the clothes ‘gets old’. Although it all began with a light bulb.

This Californian light bulb is on since 1901 —Imagen Unknown Author

Before manufacturers adopted obsolescence as a rule, in the 1920s, a light bulb was made in June 1901 … which is still operating today, over 100 years later. It is located in a fire station in Livermore, California, in the United States. It’s so unusual that they have installed a webcam to see how this ‘anomaly’ still works. And it’s not the only one! There are more centenarians bulbs working, although not as long-lived.

This eternal bulb inspired spanish Benito Muros, president of OEP Electrics, to create a LED bulb that is never spent. Muros also began a fight against this practice of the current economy. He created No Planned Obsolescence movement as ‘a new way of thinking and doing things and creating a new system in which products are designed and made to last forever and they do not make us spend unnecessarily, and be more respectful of our planet’, as related by himself in an interview in La Vanguardia Journal in 2012.

As you can imagine, this new bulb has difficulty entering the market. In the same interview, Muros told that ‘the distributors tell us that it’s their way of living, and department stores offer us increase the price, to which we have refused. We have been offered a lot of money to not remove the market and death threats, which are in the hands of the police’.

The idea is simple: if the product does not have an expiration date, do not generate waste. The voices that support the obsolescence argue that their disappearance would collapse the system, as thousands of people will lose their job. The truth is that we are more than 7 billion people living on this planet. The average amount of garbage we generate each of us is more than 1 kilo per day, according to the statistical office Eurostat. That is, in one day we produce more than 7 billion kilos of garbage. Many of these wastes are not biodegradable, and many are also contaminants. The situation is unsustainable.

The documentary ‘Buy, throw away, buy‘, by Cosima Dannoritzer, discusses the issue in depth, and provides a unique solution: fix instead of buying. An interesting reflection.

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array(4) { [0]=> object(WP_Post)#1694 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(3396) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2012-11-05 00:01:35" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2012-11-04 23:01:35" ["post_content"]=> string(7474) "En su ensayo 'Las posibilidades económicas de nuestros nietos', de 1930, el economista británico John Maynard Keynes predijo que al cabo de un siglo las sociedades industrializadas habrían progresado tanto que sus avances tecnológicos permitirían a las personas vivir con desahogo, sin apenas necesidad de trabajar, y que eso proporcionaría la felicidad. W_keynes
El bueno de Keynes predijo que la industrialización traería como consecuencia la felicidad humana —Foto Unknown Author
Casi ese siglo después y tomando como punto de partida ese ensayo, Robert Skidelsky, historiador económico y reputado biógrafo del creador del keynesianismo, ha publicado junto a su hijo y filósofo Edward el libro '¿Cuánto es suficiente?', en el que reflexionan sobre el sistema económico actual y el alejamiento de la sociedad del concepto de 'buena vida', algo que los seres humanos han intentado perfilar a lo largo de los tiempos, desde la Grecia clásica hasta el cristianismo o el marxismo. Según el libro, el progreso y la fuerte mejora en las condiciones de vida que siguieron a la Segunda Guerra Mundial se torcieron en los años 80, cuando Ronald Reagan y Margaret Tatcher establecieron el crecimiento de la economía como fin en sí mismo y no como un medio para la consecución de la buena vida de las personas. Ese indicador de crecimiento, que no tiene en cuenta otras preocupaciones del ciudadano como la salud, el ocio o el Medio Ambiente, tuvo un triunfo rápido y contundente sobre el resto de fines de la economía debido al espectacular aumento en el nivel de vida de las décadas de los 60 y 70 y a la cercanía al pleno empleo en las sociedades occidentales. 'En tales circunstancias, el pensamiento económico quedaba libre para concentrarse en la eficiencia de la eficiencia de la producción'. W_dinero
Unos cuantos miles de dólares americanos —Foto Unknown Author
La buena vida, a diferencia de la felicidad —algo privado y psicológico, no siempre conectado con las condiciones de vida— se basa para los Skidelsky en una serie de elementos básicos que el Estado debería promover, aunque corresponde a los ciudadanos disfrutar y desarrollar por completo: salud, seguridad —física o económica—, respeto, personalidad —libertad para actuar con autonomía—, armonía con la naturaleza, amistad —lazos afectivos con los demás— y ocio —lo que se hace porque sí, no por obligación o con un fin—. Los autores son optimistas sobre el futuro. Frente a la confusión entre necesidad y deseo que parece imperar, proponen una renovación ética, más políticas sociales y la reducción de la presión por consumir o la publicidad que altera la libre elección del ciudadano. Creen que hoy nos encontramos mejor preparados que nunca para esa buena vida: materialmente estamos mucho mejor que en los años 30 y el conocimiento es accesible a mucha más gente, dos factores que combinados con el despertar ético que puede suponer esta crisis económica podrían dejar a las sociedades avanzadas en una mejor posición de partida que la de Keynes en 1930.In his essay 'Economic possibilities for our grandchildren', in 1930, the British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that within a century industrialized societies have progressed so far that its technological advances allow people to live comfortably, with little need for work, and that provide happiness. W_keynes
A quite enthusiastic Keynes predicted that industrialization would result in human happiness —Photo Unknown Author
Almost a century later and taking that essay as a starting point, Robert Skidelsky, economic historian and biographer reputed creator of Keynesianism, published with his son and philosopher Edward the book 'How much is enough?', which reflect on the current economic system and society away from the concept of 'good life', something that humans have tried profiling over time, from classical Greece to Christianity or Marxism. According to the book, strong progress and improvement in living conditions that followed World War II were twisted in the 80's, when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher set economic growth as an end in itself and not as a means of achieving the good life of the people. That growth indicator, which does not take into account other citizen concerns such as health, leisure or the environment, had a quick and decisive victory over the other end of the economy due to the dramatic increase in the standard of living of the decades of 60 and 70 and proximity to full employment in Western societies. 'In these circumstances, the economic thought was free to concentrate on the efficiency of the production efficiency.' W_dinero
A few thousand US dollars —Photo Unknown Author
The good life, as opposed to happiness —something private and psychological, not always connected to the living conditions—, for Skidelsky is based on a number of basic elements that the state should promote, while it is for citizens to enjoy and develop full: health, security —physical or economic—, respect, personality —freedom to act autonomously—, harmony with nature, friendship —bond with others— and leisure —what is done for its own sake, not out of obligation or an end—. The authors are optimistic about the future. Faced with the confusion between need and desire that seems to dominate, proposed ethical renewal, more social policies and reducing the pressure to consume or altering advertising freedom to choose. They believe that we are now better prepared than ever for the good life: we are materially better than in the 30s and knowledge is accessible to many more people, two factors that combined with the ethical awakening can make this economic crisis could leave advanced societies in a better starting position than Keynes in 1930." ["post_title"]=> string(79) "¿Cuánto es suficiente?How much is enough?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(18) "how-much-is-enough" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-03-03 02:08:07" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-03-03 01:08:07" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=3396" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#1689 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4595) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-04-08 00:01:17" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-04-07 22:01:17" ["post_content"]=> string(5889) "Desde su nacimiento con la comida rápida en la década de los 30 en Estados Unidos, la polémica sobre la nueva industria alimentaria no ha dejado de suscitarse. ¿Constituye realmente esta industria la solución a todos los problemas de subsistencia y abastecimiento? ¿Debemos pensar que sólo gracias a ella podríamos alimentar saludablemente a todos los ciudadanos de occidente, e incluso acabar con el hambre en países no desarrollados? O, por el contrario, ¿la industria de la alimentación no sólo no ha ayudado a erradicar el hambre sino que es responsable de generar nuevas enfermedades ligadas a este sistema de producción de alimentos a gran escala? Las denuncias y las críticas proceden de diferentes frentes: ecologistas, grupos de granjeros y ciudadanos reclaman legislaciones que velen por los intereses de todos y no sólo por los de las grandes multinacionales de la alimentación. En lugar de ello, las leyes actuales de la principal potencia mundial (Estados Unidos) protegen al pequeño grupo de empresas que controla todo el proceso alimentario, desde el patentado de semillas resistentes a las diversas plagas y enfermedades —semillas que al convertirse en cereales servirán para alimentar al ganado— hasta el momento en que los productos se ponen a la venta en el supermercado. Los argumentos críticos se articulan desde diversos flancos: como demuestran los datos del Banco Mundial, casi 2.800 millones de personas viven por debajo de la línea de pobreza y el hambre en el mundo sigue siendo el mayor problema social y político. El desarrollo de la industria alimentaria no ha beneficiado al 46% de la humanidad y la obesidad, la diabetes, el colesterol o las enfermedades ligadas a la nutrición han aumentado exponencialmente con la expansión de la industria de la alimentación. Las grandes multinacionales alimentarias, con el apoyo de gobiernos y leyes, impiden el desarrollo de las formas de explotación agrícola tradicional, hasta el punto de que éstas claudican ante sus presiones y manipulaciones. Los ciudadanos se sienten engañados cuando se les oculta cómo se manipulan genéticamente ciertos alimentos, su procedencia, los procesos de maduración que siguen frutas y verduras, etc. La aparición constante de enfermedades causadas por los alimentos que consumimos —por ejemplo, la encefalopatía espongiforme o los brotes de la enfermedad producida por la bacteria E. Coli 0157:H7— induce a pensar que estamos ante un problema muy serio cuyo responsable último es nuestro sistema económico y de producción, y este sistema afecta en último término a nuestra salud y bienestar físico e intelectual. Y la responsabilidad no reside sólo en el ciudadano que se alimenta, sino en una industria que modifica los alimentos y oculta la manipulación. Parece que en gran parte somos lo que comemos. Y también que gran parte de lo que comemos está contaminado, adulterado y su proceso de producción ocurre tras misteriosas naves diseñadas para ocultar cómo se manipula lo que después nos llevaremos a la boca. © Texto basado en un artículo de Iván Teimil y Asunción Herrera, de la Universidad de Oviedo (España)From birth to fast food in the 30s in the United States, the controversy over the new food industry has constantly arise. Constitutes the industry really the solution to all problems of subsistence and supplies? Are we to think that just because she could feed healthy to all citizens of the West, and even end hunger in underdeveloped countries? Or, conversely, does the food industry has not only helped eradicate hunger but is liable to generate new illnesses linked to this system of food production on a large scale? The complaints and criticisms from different fronts: environmentalists, farmers and citizens groups demanding legislation to ensure the interests of all and not just those of large multinational food. Instead, the current laws of the major world power (the United States) protect the small group of companies controls the entire food process, from the patented seeds resistant to various pests and diseases, seed grain that will become for cattle feed, so far as the products offered for sale at the supermarket. The critical arguments are articulated from various sides: as the data of the World Bank, nearly 2,800 million people live below the poverty and hunger in the world is still the greatest social and political problem. The development of the food industry has not benefited the 46% of humanity and obesity, diabetes, cholesterol or nutrition-related diseases have increased exponentially with the expansion of the food industry. The large food multinationals, with the support of governments and laws, prevent the development of traditional farming ways, to the point that they claudican to their pressures and manipulations. Citizens feel cheated when they are hidden how certain foods are genetically engineered, their origin, maturation processes following fruits and vegetables, etc. The continuing emergence of diseases caused by the food we eat –for example, spongiform encephalopathy outbreaks or disease caused by the bacterium E. Coli 0157: H7– suggests that this is a very serious problem which is ultimately responsible for our economic and production system, and this system will ultimately affect our health and physical and intellectual. And the responsibility lies not only in the city that eats, but in an industry that hides modified food and handling. It seems that much of what we are is what we eat. And much of what we eat is contaminated, adulterated and its production process occurs after mysterious spacecraft designed to conceal how it is handled before we put into our mouths. : Based on an article by Iván Teimil and Asunción Herrera, from the University of Oviedo (Spain)" ["post_title"]=> string(74) "Somos lo que comemosWe are what we eat" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(20) "somos-lo-que-comemos" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-02-17 00:08:51" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-02-16 23:08:51" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=4595" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#1695 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(7296) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-12-18 21:30:42" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-12-18 20:30:42" ["post_content"]=> string(2958) "'El futuro ha de ser, como dicen en Latinoamérica, del buen vivir' —Arcadi Oliveres es economista y profesor universitario de la Universitat Autònoma de Catalunya, participante activo en movimientos sociales desde su juventud y reconocido activista de Justícia i Pau, una organización por la promoción y defensa de los derechos humanos en todo el mundo y de la que desde 2001 es presidente. Conocido por su labor divulgativa en economía política, análisis de las corporaciones y propuestas para el consumir responsable y sostenible, es también especialista en las relaciones económicas norte-sur, deuda externa y precio justo. Gran crítico del sistema capitalista liberal contemporáneo, con su participación activa en el movimiento 15M —en su representación en la acampada de Plaza Catalunya en Barcelona en 2011— sus ideas y discurso se dieron a conocer aún más. Su condición de activista empieza con las luchas estudiantiles contra la dictadura de Franco en los 60 y se consolida con los movimientos antiglobalización y con su defensa de las teorías del decrecimiento. Participó también en la creación del Foro Social Mundial en Porto Alegre y del movimiento de los indignados 15M. Actualmente continúa con su actividad como docente en la UAB y como pensador y divulgador que transforma la economía en política, la política en sociedad y la sociedad en humanidad y justicia.'The future has to be, as they say in Latin America, the good life' —Arcadi Oliveres is a Catalan economist and UAB university professor and an active participant in social movements since his youth. Also is a recognized activist in Justice and Peace, an organization for the promotion and defense of human rights around the world. In this organitzation is the president since 2001. He is known for his divulgative work about political economy, corporate analysis and proposals for responsible and sustainable consumption. Also specializes in North-South relations in international economics, foreign debt and fair price. Great critic of contemporary liberal capitalist system, with its active participation in the 15M movement —in its representation in the camp of Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona 2011— his speech became more known. His activism began in his youth with the student movement against the dictatorship of Franco in the 60s, it was consolidated with the anti-globalization movements and their theoretical conceptualizations and defense theories of degrowth. He also participated in the creation of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre and the Indignados movement (15M). Continues its activities as a teacher at UAB, and activist, thinker and promotor, we hope that his work will not cease, and leave us for many years, this light provided by this economist, where the economy is transformed into politics, politics into society, and society in humanity and justice." ["post_title"]=> string(119) "WHAT ABOUT: El futuro por Arcadi Oliveres WHAT ABOUT: The future by Arcadi Oliveres" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(40) "what-about-the-future-by-arcadi-oliveres" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2021-06-13 18:23:18" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2021-06-13 16:23:18" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=7296" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#1842 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(2607) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2012-06-18 00:02:07" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2012-06-17 22:02:07" ["post_content"]=> string(2738) "El trabajo de José Carlos Meirelles consiste en documentar la existencia de tribus aisladas en la Amazonia y protegerlas del contacto con los no-indígenas. El avance de la explotación económica en la frontera entre Brasil y Perú, especialmente la maderera y la petrolera, amenaza con destruir esa zona de la selva, provocando el genocidio de las comunidades que viven en ella. De 'los últimos humanos libres', como le gusta decir a José Carlos. El genocidio es un delito tipificado en el derecho internacional. Tanto la Convención para la Prevención y la Sanción del Delito de Genocidio de 1948 como el Estatuto de Roma de la Corte Penal Internacional de 1998 recogen una idéntica definición: Se entenderá por genocidio cualquiera de los actos mencionados a continuación, perpetrados con la intención de destruir total o parcialmente a un grupo nacional, étnico, racial o religioso como tal: 1 —Matanza de miembros del grupo. 2 —Lesión grave a la integridad física o mental de los miembros del grupo. 3 —Sometimiento intencional del grupo a condiciones de existencia que hayan de acarrear su destrucción física, total o parcial. 4 —Medidas destinadas a impedir nacimientos en el seno del grupo. 5 —Traslado por la fuerza de niños del grupo a otro grupo.The work of Jose Carlos Meirelles is to document the existence of uncontacted tribes in the Amazon and protect them from contact with non-Indians. The advance of economic exploitation in the border between Brazil and Peru, especially timber and oil that threatens to destroy the forest area, causing the genocide of the communities living in it, or 'the last free humans', likes to say Jose Carlos. Genocide is a crime under international law. Both the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998 contained an identical definition: Be considered genocide either following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such: 1 —Killing members of the group. 2 —Causing serious integrity physical or mental harm to members of the group. 3 —Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. 4 —Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. 5 —Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." 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