As a bit of a cotnrarian, I'm interested in this. The nitty-gritty of whittling down your possessions
Boing Boing readers had a lot to say regarding yesterday's post about Kelly Sutton, the fellow who has gotten rid of almost everything he owns apart from his digital / Internet technology.Right now we are in the process of adding things rather than taking them away for a very simple reason; redundancy.
Kelly's (new) way of life is utterly dependent on lean supply chain dynamics and the ubiquity of the power grid at the very moment when both of those models are coming to an end.
He assumes in his piece that, if something needs fixing, he can buy the tools he needs for the job at an affordable price, then dispose of them, buying new ones as needed in the future, same with his bed and remaining household furniture.
While he claims to be more environmentally friendly, he is in fact depending on a enviromentally destructive model. Right now I'm buying things that I hope will last, will serve me and my family for a long time and, even if they are only needed once a year, are to hand immediately to perform the task so I can get on with my life.
Image that, instead of just whipping down to the hardware store for a drill and bit, you had to wait in line for 2 hours before the store opens to see if the shipment of drills had arrived, then hope to get one and hope that they also sent bits in the package or risk having to do it all again tomorrow.
Think it can't happen? I have a mate whose partner has a container of chinese vaccum cleaners at her yard, the hoses don't fit the machines. the company in China that she pays to ensure that this thing doesn't happen almost certainly didn't actually check, even though they now have to ship the container back to China, repalce all the hoses and reship to NZ.Then there is the power grid. A full-on commitment to a digital life is wholly dependent on having electricity, not just in his home, but everywhere that he might be. Right now, today, there are counties in the US ripping up tarmac country roads and replacing them with gravel because they can't afford to maintain the blacktop any more. How long before their grid maintenance goes the same way?
Why would that be? Because as long as it happens only once in 100 times, the profit from being paid for something you don't actually do, then rectifying the problem, is still higher than employing reliable staff to actually do the work.
Living the lean life is great, right up till the moment when some critical part of the system fails. And BTW, in lean systems the only parts that are left are all critical.
Which is why I'm investing in redundancy. In the last month I have loaned a power cord to one neighbour, a hedge trimmer to another, taken my pruning shears to the kiwi fruit vines of a third and nailed up a board over the window of a fourth who was burgled while they were out of town.
Not-often-used stuff that I have been able to provide.
- Spare power cord
- Hedge trimmer that I haven't used in months
- Nails (I have a couple of kilos of about 10 different sizes because you can't nail up a piece of 3 ply on a window frame with a 100mm nail)