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Why everything you buy is worse now | Vox

Entrepreneurship refers to the process of starting and running a new business, typically driven by a visionary individual or team identifying opportunities and risks. It often involves innovation, either in the form of new products, services, or ways of doing business. Businesses, on the other hand, are organized entities aimed at selling goods or services to make a profit. They can range from small startups to multinational corporations. Both entrepreneurship and business require strategic thinking, resource management, and a clear understanding of market dynamics. While every entrepreneur starts a business, not every business is entrepreneurial in nature; some prioritize stability over innovation.

The Dilemma of Consumerism: Unraveling Planned Obsolescence

In a world dominated by consumerism, have you ever noticed the subtle decline in the quality of products over the years? It’s a sentiment many share but often struggle to articulate. Let’s explore this issue further, examining the intricate web of planned obsolescence and its impact on our daily lives.

1. Introduction: Recognizing the Decline

Have you ever felt that everything just doesn’t measure up as it once did? This sentiment echoes a growing dissatisfaction with the declining quality of products. Without a specified speaker, this universal experience sets the stage for an exploration into the world of consumerism.

2. Anecdote about a Bra: Izzie’s Tale

Meet Izzie, a co-worker who embarked on a quest to replace a bra only to find it falling apart shortly after purchase. This anecdote serves as a relatable entry point, highlighting a common experience that sparks curiosity about the broader issue.

3. General Trend: Products Breaking Sooner

The observation that various products, from coffee machines to phones and clothing, are wearing out sooner, becomes the focal point. It prompts an investigation into the reasons behind this alarming decline in product durability.

4. Factors in Design Process: Imbalance Unveiled

Examining the factors in the design process—functionality, appearance, and manufacturability—reveals a recent imbalance. The once harmonious blend has shifted, influencing the overall quality of products we encounter daily.

5. Change in Consumer Behavior: From Tailors to Online Carts

A historical shift from tailor-made jackets to mass-produced items and the current trend of online shopping shed light on changing consumer behavior. Rapid trend cycles now drive frequent purchases, impacting the longevity of products.

6. Planned Obsolescence Concept: Ernest Elmo’s Legacy

Meet Ernest Elmo from the 1930s, the pioneer of planned obsolescence, initially coined as “consumer engineering.” The mechanism encourages frequent replacements not due to wear but changing styles, influencing our purchasing habits.

7. Fast Fashion Impact: The Need for More, Faster

Fast-paced fashion trends have intensified our desire for new items. Surveys indicate a staggering 40% of UK consumers buying clothing monthly, while a UN report unveils a 60% increase in purchases between 2000-2014, coupled with shorter usage periods.

8. Economic Impact on Quality: Striking a Balance

Consumer resistance to paying more, despite rising labor costs, creates a cycle of fast demand for low-cost products. Manufacturers respond by altering materials and manufacturing processes, affecting overall product quality.

9. Technological Advancements: Minor Adjustments

Technological advancements, once marked by significant leaps, now witness minor adjustments year after year. Devices no longer undergo radical transformations, contributing to a change in the replacement cycle.

10. Right to Repair Issue: Advocating for Change

The difficulty in repairing modern devices intentionally designed to be challenging or impossible sparks advocacy. Consumers are urged to fight for the right to repair, with New York State passing a landmark bill in 2022.

11. Consumer Empowerment: Making Informed Choices

Amidst the challenges, the speaker calls for action. Avoiding fast fashion, steering clear of micro trends, and buying with intention become crucial. Consumer responsibility is emphasized—take care of your possessions and be mindful of maintenance.

Conclusion and Activism: Taking Control

Empowering consumers, the conclusion reassures that change is possible. The website provides tools for consumers to share repair stories and influence change. Legislative impact is highlighted, with over 100,000 people contributing to the passing of the right to repair law in New York in 2022.

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