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Showing posts from April, 2010

Market Aesthetics and the Institutionalization of Waste. Happy Earth Day!

We throw away a lot of stuff. In my near decade of manufacturing work, I'd say I've seen millions of dollars worth of products thrown out. Surely some of this was because of defects affecting performance. This is to be expected. But there's also a much more troubling side to the full dumpster at the end of the shift. Many of the items thrown out were perfectly functional. Because of any number of hundreds of small defects, they were simply tossed. Why? While their use value remained fine, their exchange value had dropped to the point of them being unprofitable to sell.

At first thought, this isn't too controversial. It's just sort of the way things are. When someone asks why we're throwing away so many usable products, as I have many times, the typical answer given is something along the lines of "a customer judges what's on the inside of a product by its appearance on the outside." This is no doubt true. As Fabio's once great career can attes…

Venezuela: The People in Arms

From IDOM...
As they wait for the arrival of the President, the militias stand listlessly, or sit on the ground to eat a sandwich. Some rest on their rifles, and one or two even had the muzzle of their AK-47s resting on their boot – a somewhat risky practice, one would have thought. In fact a professional drill sergeant would doubtless have a heart attack, looking at these half-trained civilians with guns.But this impression would be entirely false. These militias are the lineal descendants of the Cuban guerrillas, of the militias that fought Franco in the Spanish Civil War, of the workers´ militias that overthrew the Tsar in Russia in 1917, and if we go even further back in history, of the armies of the French Revolution and the militias of the American Revolution in the 18th century.