If you want to make it big in a capitalist, supposedly free market economy, not only do you need to reach as large a customer-base as possible, you also need to keep them coming back for more. Here's how that's done.
source: Money Crashers
First option is that you produce stuff that can be used only once. The throw-away-culture that's embedded so deeply in our society as to make us discard relationships as easily as paper-towels. Really, I mean that; our relationships to the stuff we own as well as to the people we interact with are becoming more and more superficial as the duration of said relationships shorten ever more. King C. Gillette, the one that introduced the world famous throw away razor blades, was an employee of William Painter the man that gave bottles their crown corks and once said something akin to: "If you want to become rich, make something your customers have to throw away, so they come back for more almost immediately." Painter was the friend Gilette is referring to in this quote:
"A friend of mine asked why I could not invent something that everybody would use and throw away afterwards, and then come back for more. Except pins, I could think of nothing. The next day I dropped my razor and damaged the edge. Then the idea came."
You know we can make razor blades with diamond edges that last a lifetime? Now you do. The crown cork was a double whammy; not only is it a one-time usable stupid thing, it prevents customers from closing the bottle as to save some for later... This is the kind of "innovation" capitalism rewards. Screw durability or sustainability; that's for softy wannabee world-savers...
Second option is you make your stuff break down right after the guarantee period expires, there's even a term for that; planned obsolescence . Infamous is the example of many inkjet and laser-printers having a built-in counter that makes it so that the print-heads don't perform the clean-routine anymore; after x-thousand prints you just have to buy a new printer because repairing costs more. Heck, a refill costs more than the damn device; many products are build with a profit-model that relies more on maintenance than on the sale of the product itself. How much does your second hand car cost you, to just use it? Ever heard of the light bulb conspiracy? Watch the video at the end; it's quite an amazing, and sickening story.
"The Phoebus cartel created a notable landmark in the history of the global economy because it engaged in large-scale planned obsolescence to generate repeated sales and maximize profit. It also reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost fifteen years. Critics accused the cartel of preventing technological advances that would produce longer-lasting light bulbs. Phoebus based itself in Switzerland. The corporation named itself Phœbus S.A. Compagnie Industrielle pour le Développement de l'Éclairage (French for 'Phoebus, Inc. Industrial Company for the Development of Lighting')."
We can make 'm last forever you know:
"The Centennial Light is the world's longest-lasting light bulb, burning since 1901, and almost never switched off. It is at 4550 East Avenue, Livermore, California, and maintained by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department. Due to its longevity, the bulb has been noted by The Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, and General Electric."
The third and final option I want to discuss today may be the most inhuman of them all; make your stuff as addictive as allowed by the law, or maybe even a bit more. This not only applies to medication, but also to social platforms like Facebook that keep serving exactly what's to your personal liking. You see those zombies every day, hunchbacked consumers of the few-inch-universe who fool themselves into having a widescreen window looking out on the whole wide world, but miss the actual world passing them by...
The crisis we're in right now has been predicted a long time ago by great minds like Marx and Engels; it's called "the crisis of overproduction." Capitalism intrinsically produces more than we can consume by the mere existence of the profit motive (profits are literally surpluses of production), and capitalism's other core feature, greed, emphasizes this even more by making the customer keep coming back for more. It's true that capitalism is unprecedented in its capacity to produce record amounts of wealth; me nor any other rational thinking person will deny that. But see the "wealth" for what it is my friends; most of it is pure destructive and nonsensical waste, birthed by a singular focus on personal gains and spawning some of the poorest and unsympathetic mindsets at the helm of this failing empire. Remember, liberty starts with freedom from want; only when all our basic needs are satisfied can we even start to think about true freedom. If we wake up soon, maybe we're just in time to preserve the possibility to evolve toward a society that's worthy of our capabilities. No better place to start the awakening than in the heart of darkness, the capital of the current world-empire; Bernie Sanders 2020!!
The Lightbulb Conspiracy - Planned Obsolescence
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