Been thinking about hoarding recently, ‘Hoarding’ is an interestingly Western, post-world war 2 phenomena.
Before WW2 things were made to last and were repairable and if they couldn’t be repaired, they could be reused for other purposes and for many ‘lower socioeconomic’ people this continued for long after the war.
The only thing I can remember being recycled when I grew up was drink bottles and we made good money collecting them after the local show and footy matches and such; often you’d see some kid lingering around an adult who was drinking a bottle of soft drink to ask for the bottle as soon as it was empty. We even recycled our newspaper; I don’t know how old I was when I found out there was another way to wipe your bum other than those squares of newspaper hanging on a nail on the dunny wall.
If something broke, the first thing you did was to see if you could fix it and if you couldn’t fix it you tried to think of ways to re-use it; then a foul post war consumerist cancer called “Planned Redundancy” started to spread across the lands when some bright spark realised that there was no money in making things to last because for capitalism to thrive you needed things to have a finite life so that people would continue to buy more, bigger, better, improved, breakable, crappy products instead of those boring old last forever, works really well but doesn’t look shiny ones we used to have. (I remember reading an article years ago that the American navy needed 20 times the service ships that the Russian navy did because every time America tendered to build a warship the company who made it made it with all their patented fittings so the navy then had to buy a service ship for those fittings whereas, in Russia they all came from the same factory [I’m not meaning to support the Russian system there, it sucks too].)
But really, who wants things you can hand down to your kids when they can buy go out bright, shiny new ones manufactured in whatever country we’re exploiting for cheap labour this year. Who wants to pay a fair and reasonable price for all that stuff we’ve been brainwashed to believe we NEED to live happy lives. Without that new 2 metre screen Super HD LCD TV how will we spend our evenings; if we start talking to our partners, the divorce rate with go through the roof. If we start going outside playing with the kids they’ll miss teenage mutant ninja turtles and that’s important for their social development, not to mention the impact on merchandising; social order will disintegrate and the world as we know it will be destroyed forever.
Since the end of WW2 planned redundancy has progressively become an integral part of our capitalist system and without it our economy would collapse in a heap; capitalism needs iphones made with weak screens that break easily and an operating system that is continually ‘improved’ so that it won’t work on older phones, we need plastic crap that will fall to pieces in no time. Without these things the market would fall to pieces, unemployment would go berserk, the rich would have nothing to trickle down their chins for us to lick up; there would be Anarchy in our streets! Ungodly Anarchists would take over the world and then where would you get your cheap crap from?
So, back to hoarding, remember hoarding, that’s what I’m writing about ‘hoarding’. So where does hoarding fit into all this; I can’t help but notice that hoarding seems to be primarily an older, lower socio-economic persons condition and so is it the old ethos of not wasting without the knowledge or resources of how to fix things and what to do with them combined with the fact that most of what we get today is unrepairable, un-reusable crap and there is nothing you can do with it except stack it up in your lounge room. Planned redundancy is the backbone of capitalism and probably the most evil thing possible because it is the core of the need for an infinite need for resources in a closed, finite system.
Back in my younger day everyone was a ‘hoarder’ to some extent.
So, are Hoarders just totally mad, or are they people we should help but also learn from and maybe teach how to hoard productively.