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Capitalism = Waste

Overabundance is how capitalism meets demands

However, a consequence of this overabundance is that there is a lot of waste.



I work retail, and this thought was put into sharp focus for me one day: we get product, lots of it, we put it on the shelves, and if it doesn't sell it's shipped back or destroyed.

That process there - that's a substantial amount of waste. We've created a society that allows us to use lots and lots of resources because it's the most efficient, cheapest way of doing things. Every item due out of the store is a bit of calculated waste. Sure, you could just have that overabundance hang out in the storefront, but that'll create more inefficiency and operational slowdown as more and more unwanted crap keeps being shoveled in. It's all about efficiency and meeting the proper demand.

Grocery stores are the biggest storefront bastions of waste I can think of. Endless truckloads of food gets brought there so that there's more than enough product to meet demand, and then...?

A lot of it expires, is thrown out. Waste.

Capitalism thrives on the notion of overabundance. So far, the resources still exist to maintain that overabundance. Maybe I'm getting my inner hippie on too much, but this constant churning of waste and throwing things out for the sake of efficiency and meeting demand and making a buck... it strikes me as unsustainable.

I think this is part of the reason why storefront retail is dying and all of it is getting absorbed online. Want to know why it's $10 cheaper to get that product online than in store? One reason is because they only have to go through the shipping process once, from the warehouse to you. And there's fewer of those pesky employees that need to be paid as an intermediary. With retail, there's a constant flow of back and forth product and it costs a pretty penny to have all the requisite employees for the sales floor. It was the best (read: most efficient) way of doing things for a long time, but now the internet has brought a more direct way of product delivery. Online does conserve on resources sure, but there are other costs; some I can think of off the top of my head are fewer jobs, no physical browsing and just more and more products being absorbed by the Great Amazon Smotherblanket.

Ah, the great overhanging smotherblanket of consumerism. How lovely.

Dready Drew, Signing Through


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