Made to break technology and obsolescence in america pdf

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made to break technology and obsolescence in america pdf

Giles Slade - Wikipedia

Giles Slade is a Canadian freelance writer and social critic , best known as author of Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. Slade trained as a journalist, and also worked for a time for Harlequin Enterprises , writing adventure novels. He studied at the University of Southern California , defending his doctorate in cultural history. Slade lived and worked in the United States of America for many years. After earning his doctorate he taught at colleges and universities internationally, throughout Asia and the Persian Gulf , for another decade. He returned to Canada with his family and settled in British Columbia
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Technological Obsolescence

Made to Break

Planned obsolescence , or built-in obsolescence , in industrial design and economics is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so that it becomes obsolete i. Producers that pursue this strategy believe that the additional sales revenue it creates more than offsets the additional costs of research and development, and offsets the opportunity costs of repurposing an existing product line. In a competitive industry, this is a risky policy, because consumers may decide to buy from competitors instead if they notice the strategy. Planned obsolescence tends to work best when a producer has at least an oligopoly. In these cases of planned obsolescence, there is an information asymmetry between the producer, who knows how long the product was designed to last, and the consumer, who does not. When a market becomes more competitive, product lifespans tend to increase. In the United States, automotive design reached a turning point in when the American national automobile market began reaching saturation.

Welcome to the world of planned obsolescence—a business model, a way of life, and a uniquely American invention that this eye-opening book explores from its beginnings to its perilous implications for the very near future. Made to Break is a history of twentieth-century technology as seen through the prism of obsolescence. History reserves a privileged place for those societies that built things to last—forever, if possible. What place will it hold for a society addicted to consumption—a whole culture made to break? This book gives us a detailed and harrowing picture of how, by choosing to support ever-shorter product lives we may well be shortening the future of our way of life as well. Who Needs an Author? In his new book Author Unknown: The Power of Anonymity in Ancient Rome , classicist Tom Geue asks us to work with anonymity rather than against it and to appreciate the continuing power of anonymity in our own time.

Technology and Obsolescence in America

GSD Talks: Richard Sennett, “The Open City”

By Giles Slade. Cambridge, Mass. Cultures can achieve affluence either by wanting little and producing little or wanting much and producing much, anthropologist Marshall Sahlins taught us. The strength of Giles Slade's Made to Break as history is its exploration of how professionals in twentieth-century America wrestled with the ethics and practicalities of moving from the former to the latter. Slade reveals engineers, marketing consultants, and activists arguing among themselves and in public about the benefits and costs of repetitive consumption—replacing products that have not yet worn out.

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