Follow

Frugal economy 

I don't like buying things, and a result I tend to try and make things last for a long time. If everybody would buy very little and use things for a long time, clearly that would result in a very different economic situation. One point that is quite clear is that in a mostly unregulated (aka "free" but not in the Adam Smith sense) market economy, reduced buying would mean that goods that require a lot of investment to develop and produce would be a lot less profitable, because the profit margin depends on the economies of scale obtained by producing and selling very large numbers of these goods.
Raising prices to compensate for the loss in volume might be an option, if coupled with cheap credit. Otherwise people could not afford the increased cost. For example, if everyone did 10x longer with their phones, the manufacturer would have to charge 10x more to remain in profit. But even with cheap credit, the consumer would still end up paying a lot more, because effectively this would be like taking mortgages on consumer goods. I think consumers would realise this quickly and so the market for high-investment goods would shrink even more. But instead, there would be in an increased market for goods that do not require a lot of investment. In other words, simple goods. And in that changed environment, the advantage of the capitalist would be a lot smaller. Maybe this is why the myth of the necessity of economic growth is perpetuated.

Web 2 5 8

Frugal economy 

@wim_v12e it started with the great depression, the 1939 world鈥檚 fair, and edward bernays. look it up

re: Frugal economy 

@wim_v12e This isn't a correct analysis. If people did indeed saved more, that would lead to cheaper credits, as you say. But this is the thing that would enable more and longer-term investment. If everyone only bought a cell phone every 5 years instead of every 2, those cell phones would probably be more expensive, but they'd also have features that would make them last longer, and the new phone would probably have to be a lot better to convince anyone to buy it. The current issue is that we have both a system based on a lot consumer spending and a centrally planned interest rate that distorts the actual state of the economy. With a fixed monetary system, we'd probably get deflation, which would encourage people to save more and wouldn't produce a consumerism quite as bad as we have currently.

re: Frugal economy 

@lain I agree buying less would lead to cheaper credit and would make investment cheaper as well. And I admit I have no evidence for the reduction in economies of scale.

But if what you say is correct, then that means it is actually easier than I thought to reduce consumerism, and would not need to result in high-investment goods becoming disproportionally more expensive.

re: Frugal economy 

@wim_v12e I like to bring good news :)

re: Frugal economy 

@lain Regarding your point about the monetary system, what would be a good fix? It's quite clear that the current system is broken, but currencies rely on trust to retain their value. Is there an alternative system that people could trust?

re: Frugal economy 

@wim_v12e the obvious candidate these days is bitcoin, but any fixed supply monetary system with enough buy-in would do.

re: Frugal economy 

@lain There does not seem large-scale trust in bitcoin though, isn't it? And I worry that it might be easy to make people lose trust in such a system.

re: Frugal economy 

@wim_v12e bitcoin is one of the largest currencies of the world already. If either the euro, the dollar or the yuan crashes, It'll soar. I'm preparing a blog post about the questions of trust in currency, so watch this space :)

https://coinmarketcap.com/fiat-currencies/

re: Frugal economy 

@lain OK, thanks, I'm looking forward to it.

re: Frugal economy 

@lain @wim_v12e
don't people break those things constantly?

looking around here, seems like every screen is crunched

re: Frugal economy 

@shmibs @wim_v12e sure, but many just buy a new one every two years because it's when their contract expires and they get a new subsidy

re: Frugal economy 

@lain @wim_v12e
ah, that's how that works?

huh

just side-wondering though, sorry; like always seemed bizarre people would make and use something that's just a lsab of exposed glass; curious about other possible forms

re: Frugal economy 

@lain @shmibs Currently, the average lifetime of a phone is 3 years. From an emissions perspective, it would have to be 25 years.

re: Frugal economy 

@wim_v12e @shmibs can't agree with that, a Nokia 3310 is not even the same kind of device that a galaxy S20 is. But just as pcs are being used longer and longer I suspect that phones (actually rather portable computers) will go the same ways as they become "good enough".

re: Frugal economy 

@shmibs @lain @wim_v12e some do, others make them last for years (my s6 has its screen in tact after 5-6 years)

that said even when a screen glass breaks, you don't need to buy a new phone but you can get it repaired

re: Frugal economy 

@shpuld @shmibs @lain @wim_v12e newer phones aren't as easy to repair when it comes to their screens, like you have to take everything else out to get to the screen

re: Frugal economy 

@norm @lain @shmibs @wim_v12e if we lived in the hypothetical world where phones are meant to last a bit longer that was in the topic, they'd definitely make sure everything can be repaired and batteries can be changed. even today even if some phones are hard to repair by yourself, repair shops can still do it

re: Frugal economy 

@shpuld @lain @shmibs @wim_v12e I'd love to live in that world of phones made to last longer.

re: Frugal economy 

@norm @lain @shmibs @wim_v12e by treating them well you can make them last long, if you don't buy cheap, the build quality isn't cheap either. batteries you can't change and software making things slow are still sucky parts

re: Frugal economy 

@shpuld @lain @shmibs @wim_v12e yeah I've been holding onto my oneplus 6 from 3 years ago, and it still does much of what I want today.

re: Frugal economy 

@norm @lain @shmibs @wim_v12e almost twice as much on my daily driver (s6), battery life has become worse and software is noticeable much slower now than a few years ago. android is the new windows in that regard

re: Frugal economy 

@shpuld @lain @shmibs @wim_v12e surprisingly most stuff still feels snappy on my phone, but I imagine it will start getting slower once apps start bloating up more.

The battery life is noticeably worse for sure for me.

re: Frugal economy 

@norm @shpuld @shmibs @wim_v12e it's not like you can't buy them right now, just most people don't want them.

re: Frugal economy 

@lain @shmibs @shpuld @wim_v12e they're harder to find for one, and also many of them come with tradeoffs like old and slow hardware or an OS that doesn't support most apps

re: Frugal economy 

@norm @shmibs @shpuld @wim_v12e tbh one of the best phones for longevity is probably the iPhone, just because there's such a giant market in repairs.

re: Frugal economy 

@lain @shmibs @shpuld @wim_v12e they have been making their phones harder to repair though, like the screen is basically impossible to replace if it breaks plus them doing serial number verification on basically every component

re: Frugal economy 

@norm @shmibs @shpuld @wim_v12e sure, but in the end it doesn't matter if they make it hard or not, the question is how comparatively lucrative it is to repair an iPhone or a Fairphone or something like that. If the market is large enough, people will fix these phones, no matter what apple wants.

re: Frugal economy 

@norm @lain @wim_v12e @shpuld
would love to live in a world without phones

(pretend here a funny picture about an old lady who gt rid of the phone her daughter gave her because doesn't like those thigs, that can't find right now because eyes are woog

re: Frugal economy 

@shpuld @norm @lain @shmibs @wim_v12e In fact it would be easier to design a repairable phone than the current ones, if phone manufacturers stopped trying to justify making them disposable with marketing around their thinness.

We'd have better battery life and performance (through easier thermal management) too.

re: Frugal economy 

@guizzy
I think this is bound to happen before long.
@norm @lain @shpuld @shmibs

re: Frugal economy 

@shpuld Quite so. I hope this world does not remain hypothetical, otherwise it's a disaster.

@norm @lain @shmibs

re: Frugal economy 

@lain this reminds me of Jevon鈥檚 paradox but I鈥檓 not sure I can find the right match鈥 馃

@wim_v12e

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Octodon

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!