Wednesday, February 07, 2007

devious corporate strategies

"Over the next few years, as he (Alfred Sloan of GM) refined his notion of obsolescence, he saw that style could date cars more quickly and reliably than technology. In manufacturing terms, psychological obsolescence was superior to technological obsolescence, because it was considerably cheaper to create and could be produced on demand."

-Giles Slade from "Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America"

Even when you know this rationally, it's hard to resist.


ldbug said...

So things break faster these days b/c the style dates them too fast? Well, that's just silly. There will always be the people who must have the lastest style...and then there will be me! I would love to have things that never broke but looked out-of-century!

ergo said...

I think it's more that there are two kinds of obsolescence: things break, or you can't live without the same thing in a different color/with rounded corners/really big fins etc.

It does seems silly until you consider psychological obsolescence with respect to design and fashion, and the amount of money that goes into and out of that industry.