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How can less be more? Stuff

12 June 2010 One Comment

We fill our lives with so many things in the hope we feel happy.  There is an entire industry based on the idea of things and even, people research how companies and corporations can get you to buy more and more. But there is a disconnection between how things are made and the product the consumer gets. There are generations growing with no knowledge of how to make anything with their own skills but rather depends on a production factory based either in a country all together. This is perhaps one of the effects of globalization, when factories and markets move to another country because of cheap labour and low commodity prices. In some cases, it is more expensive to make your own goods than buy products such as clothing, so this is not only a deterrent to the act of creating or making your own goods but also creates dependencies not locally, but globally. These dependencies can be detrimental should any catastrophe take place in a nation such as natural disasters, and people are unable to fend for themselves due to limited skills and replacements are only possible through external aid.

This can be seen in countries that are gearing towards becoming information societies such as UK, Finland where labour is expensive as opposed to having its citizens being employed and nations such as African ones where resources are being harnessed and shipped to other countries to be processed.  The countries where the production takes places usually tend to be in Asia and should any global links break, they will be the societies most likely to cope better than the rest as they possess the primary industries of agriculture, mining, processing etc. Being global is seen as being critical for economic growth, but how such dependencies be reduced so as to benefit locals of other societies?

It is perhaps in the best interests of the locals to learn the skills that are being exported abroad, such as farming and other such initiatives.  But one does not need to own a farm to be able to grow food. Urban agriculture is a movement aimed at enabling urban dwellers to grow their own food on allotments and rely less on those being marketed in supermarkets, which usually tend to be imported and resultant high carbon footprints. Though one would see the ecological benefit of growing their own food, it is the other benefits that are reaped. These are skills that the people own and through this, there can be various kinds of exchanges. For example, if one person is growing carrots, then this can be bartered with the neighbor for potatoes and chillies. This is not only reason to fulfill a basic act of eating but also can foster social relationships which are hard to make and find in an urban environment. But its not just food, it can be daily artifacts such as crockery and handicrafts which are essentials for everyday use.  We live in a world where people possess specialized skills and being a ‘jack of all trades’ is frowned upon. However, should oil deplete and the world of industrialization crumbles due to inability of this magical elixir, it will be the multi-tasking trader who will manage best.

Having multiple skills would mean that one is self-reliant or relies on few for auxiliary needs.  It will also mean that being in an information society is not a realistic goal for any nation, as one individual itself would have to have many roles such as a IT professional, a farmer, a tailor, a craftsperson etc.  This would then change the value of goods itself being made as it would have a personal touch.  Therefore, the abstract value of money will change and the emphasis may be on the time spent on the product than on the monetary value of it.  The key point is , of course, that a society came together as collective work resulted in quicker output and societies should be able to continue this.


One Response to "How can less be more? Stuff"

  1. Anusha says:

    I can see some similar points I had in mind for my paper about DiY and how DiY is an attitude that not many people have. Also like the point you made about fostering social relationships through creating and bartering.

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