View Full Version : Manufacturing in Excess

3rd December 2011, 07:27
We like to talk about the founding fathers. We like to talk about their intents, their reasoning for things. This is usually a good thing because they really did stand for some higher ideals, or so I would like to believe.

The thing I would like to be consider, however, is to look at the industrial revolution in particular. The thing is, before the industrial revolution we had tailors, we had blacksmiths, we had people with professions that provided to the common needs of the community. This was extraordinarily important and in all honesty -- an amazing time. I love technology, I love video games, digital music and all the things that exist today as a result of this progress; but I also would love to really be a blacksmith. Yes, we have blacksmiths today but not as a necessity function.

With the advent of mass manufacturing during the industrial revolution, what we ended up with was that the job one blacksmith did to support his community was now being done on an industrial scale. What was the creation of shocks for a wagon was now creating, in the same amount of time, 300 shocks for wagons that were being built in the same numbers. That can only go on for so long, you can only do that for so long before you are no longer fulfilling the needs of the people. At some point you are just creating excess - which you can sell to other countries - but even that can only go on for so long until you can no longer employ people because you can't sell anymore. When you reach this point, capitalism stops working.

This is the big issue.

When we reach the point where we have fulfilled our needs and we start to create millions of things we don't need -- I'm not saying that people shouldn't partake in artistic endeavors, I'm not saying that we only need to use the things that we absolutely need, that's not what I'm saying at all. I am however saying that there are things in this society that we do not need and do not use and that we do not even pay attention to. They simply exist as excess.

We are using the natural resources of this planet, minerals, oils and things that we take out of this planet - the blood of this planet - and we are using them to create things that we just do not even care about. We are using them to create things that we can put in a shiny package and hopefully someone will pay us for - but we are not accomplishing anything through that.

At some point we have to consider a new system, a new way of living; a less restrictive way of living. People will say; well that's not restriction - you are actually allowing for things -- but we're not, because what we are doing is restricting ourselves to a paradigm of allowance. We are restricting ourselves to this paradigm that says: in order to make more money - we must create more. It is like a virus, it is a virus of excess and it is not only draining to the environment, which we are as much a part of as anything else, it is draining us as well. We are strangling ourselves and we encourage it.

This is something I think we should consider. There is no suggestion for a replacement system here but just something I believe we should recognize.

At what point does the manufacturing of goods exceed necessity and become psychosis?


3rd December 2011, 15:08
What isn't enjoyable about bashing a piece of red-hot metal into shape? (except maybe tennis elbow) When I was sixteen I spent a day shadowing a farrier. Alas, that was as far as my hopes for a career in metal-bashing ever got.

The problem as I see it is comprised of several facets:

we have more productive capacity than consumers need
to keep pace with my first point, the durability of products has been reduced, leading to needless waste
greed has taken over the system. My father's generation believed that automation would result in more leisure time for everyone. While that may be true for many of us here in the West, it isn't working the way it was envisaged.

What I would like to see is a world in which we make use of our productive capacity to ensure that everyone can choose a comparably good standard of living, and time is freed up for spiritual development, whether through artistic pursuits, worship, or meditation. The major obstacle that I see between us and achieving something like this is the materialistic mind-set; "I want ...", but what am I going to do with it? I am immensely sorry to admit that I already have odds and ends littering my office here for which I have no foreseeable use! And I am probably going to receive more this Christmastide.

It is probably too late to change anything now, but I am hoping for my next birthday, and future Christmases I can ask my loved ones to make donations to charities that can make better use of their funds than I can of more knick-knacks.