Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Obsolescence versus Redundancy

Manufactured goods almost inevitably become out-of-date, but sometimes they don’t fall, they are pushed.
Planned obsolescence refers to deliberately limiting the life span of an product. This might be sensible- if the technology is coming on fast so vastly better versions will soon be available. However, it is usually perverse, aimed at maximising profit rather than utility. Light bulbs, for instance, could be longer-lived, but there’d be less repeat custom for the manufacturers…
In engineering terms, redundancy refers to ‘spare capacity’ that can be used if the primary system develops problems.

When Henry Ford first marketed his Model T he aimed at a product which ’any hick up a dirt road’ could repair with a hammer and a spanner. He nearly bankrupted his firm in the process…
Colin Ward A Self-Employed Society

See also: Innovation and change, Latest and best and inevitable

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