viernes, 27 de diciembre de 2013

From the consumer society to the junk society

“You know what I think?” he asks leaning over the kitchen table.
“No, but I imagine going back an forth to China every year must be a bit of an adventure,” I say.
He has an executive position at an automobile company whose administrative staff is located in New England. He fills the glasses with wine. We leave the glasses to clink a toast. It is Christmas day.
“We are approaching a new epoch.”
“Yes. The Chinese have an expression, ah, I can’t remember it at the moment but it has to do with producing junk products. It is a sort of son of the consumer society. Do you remember the idea of planned obsolescence? Well now industries are producing very bad quality products with very questionable utility. They have become the basis of the world’s economy. And they produce great contamination. What would happen to the world economy if these useless products were not hurried off the production line?”
“I see what you mean. We no longer produce what we need. We produce to produce.”
“That’s right. Get people to buy more junk products. But the funny thing is that at the same time there are products made for millionaires. Bags, for instance. There are bags that cost a couple thousand dollars…”
“Several thousand for a bag?”
“Yea and then there are those that make an imitation for, let’s say, one hundred dollars which are sold on a mass scale. Low income earners want to make it appear as if they were rich and that is a great market.”
“I understand. Anything to get people to buy.”
The conversation comes to a halt. We look at each other, sip the wine, tasting, thinking.
“What is incredible is how fast the Chinese can build a skyscraper. They can put up a good quality high rise building in less than a year. Nobody in the West can understand how they do it.”
“What is the secret?”
“I don’t know but at the work sites you can see literally speaking thousands of workers…”
“But they must also have great organization…”
“Sure thing. Just to give you an idea they build a city out of ice every year.”
“Out of ice? A whole city?”
“Yea, for the Habrin Ice Festival. High rise buildings, stairs, streets, statues…there are even shopping malls. It’s a great tourist attraction.”
“I suppose that’s in the winter.”
“Yea. In the spring the whole town melts away.”
It is time to toast with the family and friends so we join the festivities in the dining room. Everybody is happy and joyful, but I can’t help thinking that indeed the world is approaching a very strange epoch.

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