There was a discussion going on in our Forums about the "disposable society" we live in (as Toni from CoolTricks calls it.) The discussion was started by FoxandDragonEmporium and I'm going to quote verbatim here:
There was a time when factories produced quality items. Maytag, for example, made washing machines which lasted forever. Now everything is made with a built in "best by" date. And why?
Because for the global economy to work, everyone has to consume as much as possible. It's no longer feasible to have consumers only buy one washing machine in their life time. They must be replaced every 10 to 15 years. And clothes have to be replaced yearly. Gone is the time of having a pair of jeans which last for 20 years.
And the rate of consumption is increasing! The more people on the planet, the more they have to consume to support the factories in China or India. The lower class is kept under by only being able to afford the "cheap" stuff and needing to replace it so often. There is no way to get ahead when a sizable portion of your income is slotted towards "upkeep". How is it possible that cars built in the 50's are still running, when cars built today can only be relied on for 10 years?
Pay now or pay later, that's the way the saying goes. We've all been there. Wanting that new thing-a-ma-jig. And we've all weighed out the "Want it now" against the "Need it to last". The saying should be "Spend a little bit more now, or spend a lot more later!"
Crafters, Artisans, Makers, we don't necessarily make the best stuff. What we do is put our hearts and souls into what we make. It's a passion, not a paycheck. We want people to love and enjoy what we do.
This made me remember that what we do everyday, in our art and crafts, is important. We are not just creating products, we are actively participating in changing the way our society works. We are not just selling leather goods, sewn goods, jewelry, art - we are offering consumers a choice of one-of-a-kind products made to last, over mass-produced and disposable. And - we are giving society the option of buying from one-man-operation over Big Corporation.
And you and me. Well. We are the spokespersons for Handmade. So how do we convince society - the buying public - that buying handmade is "better" than buying mass-produced? What do we mean by better? Better how? Better for who?
Our challenge this week is to answer those questions. Active discussion will take place in this thread. Hope to see you there!
ETA: This is a very good read about the subject!