At the End of the Day

Pride in what we make. Pride in what we own.

Our dishwasher here in France is on the way out.It’s a cheapo dishwasher. We’ve had it for five years and we bought it on advice from a bloke who happened to be an apres vente (after sales) operative for a major French hypermaket.

“Buy the cheapest,” he opined, “They all go wrong after about four years, and then it’s much cheaper to buy a new one than get it fixed”.

In the 1950s, Alfred P. Sloan Jr of General Motors coined the phrase ‘planned obsolescence’. It meant, in brief, ‘design something to be cutting edge for about three years’. The idea was that new technology would then demand the consumer repurchase a new model. Sloan never planned this to mean, ‘Make the thing at such a crap level of build quality, it’ll die within four years’.

In 2011, the rule for all white goods is ‘evoke repurchase within four years’. In hitech, it’s ‘get the poor bastards wanting a new version within four months’.

This is the only model than can keep Friedmanite globalist capitalism going: more and more and more production based on more and more and more bells and whistles, and less and less and less craftsmanship.

What this model does is, by definition, unemploy a whole middle sector of repair people. Like almost everything else to do with disposable mass production, it increases the crap to be recycled, and reduces the number of jobs in which (a) the people doing them can take some pride, and (b) in turn can reduce the outgoings of struggling families.

Is this anti-G20 hairy demonstrator bollocks? Hardly. The one nation not going down this road – but instead growing its Far East presence based on durable engineering and high-quality build – is Germany. It is the biggest exporter in the world, and also on the way to having the highest per capita wealth and satisfaction levels.

Face facts. Globalist banking based on underwriting dated crap from tired multinationals is not the future. The future will be about what it has always been about: creativity designed to improve genuine quality of life, new ideas from young companies overturning the shibboleths, and bravely managed risk capital.

In the UK, our dishwasher is a Bosch. England is our main home. What we wanted in our home there was a reliable, high-quality and quiet dishwasher. The Bosch delivers on all those criteria. We’ve had it for eleven years, and it has never broken down. It cost a lot of money, but on a per wash (and peace and quiet) basis it is far better value than any other brand on the market.

Citizens need to take pride in what they do, and enjoy making a good choice when they go shopping. They won’t get satisfaction out of hard-selling unnecessary software, or paying over the odds for that netbook made obsolete by an Itablet three months later. As the Buddhists say ‘Don’t be in a hurry to arrive’. In my later years, I’m discovering that the trick is never to feel you’ve arrived. Keep on discovering, keep on growing, stop consuming for the sake of it, and take nothing for granted.

There is no wisdom to be gained from having more and more rubbishy toys. Only a lasting sense of let-down, and a never-ending loss of jobs…until the welfare mentality is the only one left. And then, of course, there will be an uber-rabid tabloid like the Daily Mail telling us all how awful that is…and asking how on earth it ever happened.