It doesn't seem all that long ago that we were arguing over built-in obsolescence. It was an era in which consumers were increasingly unwilling to sit and let the whims of corporate America, their quest for ever-growing profit, define the public's welfare.
Yet even then, as protestors stared down rifle barrels and radical laws were passed protecting the environment, even as black America began to emerge from a centuries-long hell and migrant laborers began to discover power and self-respect, even then it was a challenging notion that Detroit might build in obsolescence so that we'd have to buy new cars instead of driving reliable ones.
It was a radical notion then, but look around you now. It's the norm.
How long will that fancy camera last? How long does it take before that sleek, new PDA is tossed into the closet? Will they last as long as your car? And when they're gone, will you just go out and buy another one, paying again for what you paid before?
How much longer will CDs last -- CDs that pushed vinyl out the door. How much longer will DVDs last -- DVDs that are pushing CDs out the door. Will they last as long as your car? And when they're gone, will you just go out and buy another one, paying again for what you paid before?
2Mhz, 66Mhz, 80MHz, 400Mhz, 800Mhz. 386, 486, Pentium, Pentium-II, Pentium-III. G3, G4, G5. You KNOW that when each one goes, I go out and buy another, paying yet again for what I paid before.
This is important. It's important for industry that we buy and buy and buy, that we never stop. Ever increasing streams of revenue based on ever shrinking costs. Don't think sales. Think perpetual rental.
Built-in obsolescence. It's the business model for the 21st century. We won't own anything anymore. We'll rent everything forever. And we'll owe our souls to the company store, as well we should -- for our own good.