If the money we spend on goods isn't reflecting the apparent throw-away / disposable nature of the item as expressed by their manufacturers' unwillingness to ever touch or see the things again, then perhaps there *is* some fault to be found in the manufacturers. And if the increasingly unserviceable build and now even legal protection that we find in these goods prohibits us from repairing or servicing the goods ourselves, then we know for *certain* that there's some fault to be found in the manufacturers.
I work in a charity secondhand warehouse where all day I have to sort what's saleable from what isn't, and often this involves servicing an item that's 90% saleable into something that can be cleaned up and put on the floor.
The trend I've seen is that later models are built so that they can't be gotten into easily, meanwhile the mechanisms inside the cases are of declining quality.
Plenty of WWI and WWII era power tools, sewing machines, and hand tools are still working perfectly well. I use some huge WWI-era steel shears for cutting mouse cords and TV power cords. The other day I tested a power drill that was manufactured in 1937 and it's a better drill than the pile of Black and Decker and other 1980's behemoth models we have sitting around as possibly repairable (I'm not taking an interest, the pile will end up with the scrap guy who will take the iron and copper out of the motors and chuck the batteries in the battery bin).
Vacuums are the worst offender. Old crazy-looking steel monsters built to match art deco are still running fine and are easily serviced using standardized belts and motors available from anyplace you can buy belts and motors. The steel cases are conducive to re-use. Best of all, you can use steel parts with them without breaking them. If the base on your motor isn't lined up right with the screw posts, you can drill new holes because it's a steel part. We use the vacuum in the warehouse because it's reliable.
Meanwhile, late-model Kirby, Dyson, and other plastic-vacs are made not to be gotten into and in a most annoying fashion. One vacuum had a rug cleaning attachment that needed a cleaning itself. However, the method used to make the head was one-and-done. The superglue they used to put the two halves of the plastic together ensured that if you broke the head open to clean it, you weren't getting it back together again.
Especially when you try to get into a model made in China, you find that every possible corner has been struck off. Numerous toys and tools, upon opening, reveal of philosophy of screw-the-consumer. In this case, Chinese work slaves screw their boss who screws the corporation who screws the retailer who screws the consumer. They all know that, for instance, instead of putting that last Step Number 25 on the instruction sheet into action, the Chinese factory foreman realized that you could shuffle a sort of half-action toy onto the kids who maybe won't notice the missing feature, by MacGuyvering it a little bit on the assembly line. So the little toy monster that's supposed to masticate its jaw wide open and closed in a rhythm instead half-opens its mouth which falls shut again. And so on.
Out of everything we get donated, 85% of it is going to the scrap heap or into the trash. Part of the warehouse expense is $3,000 a week on emptying a quarter-traincar sized trash bin attached to a compactor.
And of that 85% trash, ranging the percentage of trash in the domain of year of manufacture follows an exponential curve. You could say "because old stuff is gone, there's only newer stuff left", but that doesn't hold when you go out on the sales floor and the average age of what we're selling is much older than the average age of what we're throwing away.
So what is reflected is that newer things are shit, and older things are cool enough that customers look to purchase them. Don't get me wrong, we actively try to put everything on the floor that we receive. When we have the knowledgeable manpower, we repair all kinds of things. But the amount of repair needed increases with the later year of the models and the resale ability of goods appears to be located in the past.
We theorize about this sometimes in the warehouse, especially when there's a good that looks nice enough, is new enough and useful enough, that we could fetch a nice price for it on the floor -- except that it's malfunctioning and, due to the "don't get in here!" aspect of modern manufacturing, it can't be repaired without ruining it somehow.
The way cases are made these days is to keep the consumer out at all costs, to make them sorry if they break in, and to hide copper. I'm sure the manufacturer figures if you can't get into the case, you'll send it back and they'll gladly ship you another throwaway "good" that's 99.5% plastic shit and 0.3% copper, the remaining 0.2% being tiny snips of actual steel and the occasional rubber part. They'll be glad to reclaim the copper and steel because the newer model uses less of both.
In fact by putting shit motors into everything, the Chinese can be certain that the motors will run down and you'll be inclined to ship it back. They essentially are keeping the copper and steel to themselves by keeping it from staying in your hands for any length of time. On the WWI vacuums and power drills I've seen, you can look at the motors and wonder if they weren't wound by hand by somebody who took a simple class in transformers and rotating machines. Many old transformers look the same way. You could repair those motors and transformers by hand with some copper wire. You could manufacture your own as a cottage industry, more to the point.
No, no, instead we ship shit-all everything out to the fucking Chinese, and watch as they consumerize a greater portion of our commodities and manage to corner a greater part of our consumer commodities markets.
That's the real point, that people who don't give a shit about the results the consumer gets from a product, or about the lifetime the consumer shares with a product, are the people in control of the product and even the market to the extent that they can actually pass laws against opening your own case and working on shit yourself.
Anybody who's compliant to that bullshit is a fucking worthless sack of god damn pusillanimous pigshit. It's unbelievable that there are people today who can read and write and think well enough to get on Slashdot but who are staunch enemies of honest business and honest trade. Whatever phenomenon that is, must be what resulted in so many graduate engineers rushing off to Wall Street to fleece the country. It's that insular, sheltered mentality, the result of generations of NIMBY and "it's the grandkids' problem now!" All those rich little tweaks should be sent off to China to work like a Chinaman for a decade, using and servicing WWII power tools on a deadline to cut corners for U.S. pennies, poisoning (sometimes literally) the market and the U.S. household. Then they should have their balls removed so they won't be a threat to the gene pool. Then they should be shipped back to the U.S. to see what they have to say for themselves.