Repetition and Redundancy Are the Twin Breasts of America

We suckle from breasts that insure our own demise.  Bummer.statue-nursing

To continue my theme on blemishes within the American Dream that hinder sustainability I thought I would turn to a nurturing image in celebration of Mother’s Day.  I know, so sentimental.  Anyway, the problem here in the USA is not that our breasts are shriveled and dry (if only they were), rather the problem is that we suck at the wrong tits (if sustainability is what we seek.  And it isn’t, but it should be.).You see, the Mother’s Milk of consumerism comes from the twin breasts of repetition and redundancy.  For survival we need to buy a new car every two years and a new computer every 18 months.  We need every family to own multiple cars, a washer and dryer, a lawn mower, a foot massager, an oven, microwave oven, toaster oven and grill.  When was the last time a company was rewarded for reducing the number of items we need or the frequency of which we purchase them?  Don’t even get me going on the need for extended warranties (again).

Occasionally one product or service replaces the need for another, like my cell phone has replaced my land line.  But, I still need to buy a new cell phone every year or two (and amazingly this isn’t because I loose them or drop them.  They just suck.).  At least my old phone that used to sit on my desk worked for several years.

So basically we can’t share, and our industries build stuff to break and be replaced.  These two basic realities have fattened us for the last couple of decades until we have reach super-sized proportions.  Now we have high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.  Somehow we need to find healthier milk to sustain us.  We need to suck from the breasts of community and quality.  If we could learn to share redundant goods in community and reward industries that create quality goods (perhaps by broadening a lease system)  we could continue to grow big and strong in a sustainable fashion.  But first American society is going to have to be weened away from the milk of waste.

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