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Comment Re:repairs vs new (Score 1) 207

While I agree that almost always true that its cheaper to buy a new product than to repair it (esp. for electronic gadgets, cell phones, and computers, but also increasingly true for large items like cars, appliences, etc), i find it funny how few people stop and think how absurd the whole situation is-

you can either:

a) Pay one person in a western country (where there may be 5% or more unemployment and a large majority or people doing dead-end service jobs) to spend 2-3 hours to take a device apart, figure out what's wrong, fix it.


b) Extract several pounds of different non-renewable resources, including many rare minerals (like gold), synthesise several more pounds of materials from fossil fuels (a computer takes 20x its final mass in chemicals and materials to produce), ship these materials across the world through dozens of factories where they are processed into parts (and pay for an army of R&D people, manufacturing engineers, assembly line workers, marketing poeple, managers, etc), ship the parts to Asia where they're assembled into a product (again involving the same number of people), test the finished parts extensively and repair any defective units, put the device pounds of packaging material, ship the finished devices across the world to the western country, pay for all the marketing, sales, acocunting, managers, logistics retail people at the store, and dispose of the old device and control the hazardous wastes released by the device that's disposed for thousands of years.

Something tells me that there is something drastically wrong with our economic system for the second scenerio come out cheaper than the first. It would be intersting if someone compared these two in terms of energy and non-renewable resource consumption and waste products discharged to the environment. Maybe if companies (and therefore consumers) had to pay for "externalities" and not simply extract as much out of the earth as they are capable of doing and discharging as many pollutants as they wish to the environment, this situation would change. In any case, I don't see any way that our current lifestyle is sustainable in economic or environmental terms; i'm sure one day in the future people will look back on what we accept as common sense and see how rediculous it is....

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