Saturday, February 27, 2010

How marketing and greed created a wasteful lazy society

I was just watching a commercial for the Swiffer Wet Jet which made me think about a topic that's been festering for quite some time. That topic is how wasteful and lazy the average American has become. As an example, the Swiffer Wet Jet advertises how instead of using a sponge that can get filled with germs you start with a clean pad every time. Isn't this wasteful? Every time you mop the floor you throw a pad in the garbage instead of using a sponge which can be used many times, all because of a fear of germs. If you look around your home you'll find many products that are now disposable that used to be reusable. Are all these disposable products really needed, or will a non-disposable product work just as well?

Regarding laziness, have you noticed how many things we have today that use engines and motors that used to be human powered? Push mowers have been replaced by gas and electric powered lawn mowers, snow shovels have been replaced by snow blowers, hand drills, screwdrivers, saws, and even hammers have been replaced by battery powered tools, and the list goes on and on. Granted all of these "modern conveniences" allow us to do much more with a lot less work and in a shorter amount of time with fewer people, but all of these devices allow us to avoid hard work by polluting the environment, whether in the form of emissions from small gasoline powered engines or pollution from electricity generation and batteries that contain heavy metals. At the same time the weight of the average American has gone up and unemployment has become a major problem. If we really care about the environment and ourselves, maybe we should go back to doing things the way we used to do them before all these modern conveniences.

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