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In Praise of Antiques

Throwing away repairable items under the pretext of obsolescence helps capitalists sell their products.Throwing away repairable items under the pretext of obsolescence helps capitalists sell their products.
Fashion and brand are concepts capitalism is using to induce people to rid themselves of their usable items

Consumerism and binge shopping have become a way of life in Iran.

Nima Tabibi, in his write-up in the Persian weekly Kargadan, invites readers to reconsider their economic choices.

Excerpts of his opinion piece published under the title of “In Praise of Antiques” are as follows:   

Global capitalism deserves all the blame, beating the drum of consumerism 24/7. All societies are grappling with the challenges of buying stuff they don’t need or brand-name items that cost ten times more than their real value.

Homes are teeming with luxurious goods of no use. The capitalism system has turned people to machines that work to make money to buy things. Throwing away repairable items under the pretext of obsolescence helps capitalists sell their products.

In September, the Swedish government announced it will introduce tax breaks on repairs to everything from bicycles to washing machines so it will no longer make sense to throw out old or broken items and buy new ones, the Guardian reported.

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrat and Green party coalition has also submitted proposals to parliament to slash the VAT rate on repairs to bicycles, clothes and shoes from 25% to 12% and a proposal that would allow people to claim back from income tax half of the labor cost on repairs to appliances such as fridges, ovens, dishwashers and washing machines.

The proposals will be tabled in Sweden’s Parliament as part of the government’s budget proposals and if voted through in December, it will become law from January 1, 2017.

The European government’s initiative is reminiscent of past Iranian tinkers and repairmen who would give second life to old but still usable tools and clothes. They helped cut costs by reducing waste and carbon emissions and helped preserve the environment.

Fashion and brand are concepts capitalism is using to induce people to rid themselves of their usable items. Take the example of cars. Many people are unhappy if not embarrassed of their cars just because they have fallen out of fashion.

Up until a few years ago, cars were handed down from fathers to sons; no one was ashamed of their Peugeot 404. The performance of the car was of greater importance than its look.

But gradually, automobiles turned into consumer goods like clothes and had to be replaced to help their owners keep up with the trend. There is no denying the fact that people are entitled to use new technologies, but what are the limits of consumer spending?

Introducing new cellphones regularly and creating a sense of competition among people is a telling example that should make us rethink our purchases.

Reusing and recycling are basically absent in societies targeted by capitalism. People of such communities throw their goods straight into the rubbish dump and buy new items.

This behavior can be observed among the wealthy nations of the region (the Middle East) but in some countries such as Japan, people are making other choices.

Followers of Japan’s minimalist movement buck the trend by dramatically paring their possessions. They welcome the chance to own only things they truly need.

 

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