Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

So, the EU has a ‘Right to repair’ plan

After I made a post about people repairing stuff, I saw an article referring to an EU plan about a ‘Right to Repair’.

The most interesting part was not so much the plan, but that the writer was a realist…

But in truth, much of what is darkly referred to as “planned obsolescence” probably isn’t anything of the sort. Sometimes it’s just a side-effect of cut-throat consumer price wars, and the pressure to build things as cheaply as possible, which means cutting corners on durability. And sometimes it’s more to do with technology’s restless habit of overtaking itself.

‘Make do and mend’ is a good green motto for our wasteful times

I’ve long held that all the claims of whining ‘Consumer Rights’ campaigners that manufacturers deliberately build stuff to fail quickly, and force buyers to replace them are utter nonsense – and simply evidence of more useless campaigners and activists we could all do without.

A realist only has to look at the damage done, especially in recent years, where a major company has actually been found, by evidence, to have been running some sort of underhand scheme, to see that this is counterproductive.

They have reputations which those ‘campaigners and activists’ (and maybe competitors) are over-eager to destroy, so cannot really afford to do many of the silly things that they are supposed to.

Look at the cost of recalls when a component failure is found.

As noted by the writer above, the real problem manufacturers have is balancing the cost of making a reliable product  via mass-production, but keeping the price down.

Although it’s an old series now, I recommend tracking down “The Secret Life of Machines”, presented by Tim Hunkin, and made in the late 1970s and 1980s. It would be interesting to see a remake today, now that the microcontroller is so widely utilised, and so many analogue/mechanical systems have been displaced by digital systems. For example, the video cassette recorder is now gone, and digital video has replaced it completely.

I think it was the episode on washing machines, but even then he was moved to observe that while it was sad to see how cheaply some of them were manufactured, he also had to admire the engineering, as they were so much simpler than their predecessors from earlier years, yet lasted so much better.

In most cases, it’s probably true to say that many failures are down to owner/operator abuse, rather than failure of the parts or design.

There’s also the desire of many consumers to have the ‘Latest Shiny Thing’.

I’ve picked up many gadgets thrown out by people, left at the side of the road for the binmen to collect with the rest of their rubbish.

So far, I’ve brought home fully working televisions, videos, CD/DVD players, amplifiers, even bathroom scales, and items as small as USB chargers.

All clearly dumped because they were just yesterday’s model, and unwanted even though they were working.



11/01/2019 - Posted by | Civilian |

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