In Aldous Huxley’s famous book, Brave New World, the citizens in the World State were conditioned to believe that “ending is better than mending”; that buying a new item instead of repairing the flawed one brings the greatest benefit to economy and the world they are living in. When one’s possessions become faulty, should one buy the same item to replace it or perhaps mend or consider exchanging it? Buying new things means purchasing the same good, at a brand new condition. Mending is repairing a damaged item to working condition. Exchanging suggests the replacement of one good with another; and possessions imply material goods with monetary value attached to it. One of the advantages of buying new things when the old one is defective or worn off is that it helps drive the economy, as mentioned by Huxley. Consumer spending a direct factor that help lift an economy. Consumer spending has evidently helped many countries overcome its financial woes during the tough economic times. For example, the Japanese economy had grown a robust one percent in the first quarter of 2012, largely fuelled by a one percent increase consumer spending.
In the States, where consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the economic activity, the economy grew at a stunning 2.5% during the third quarter of 2011 due to increased retail sales. However, buying a new product when it becomes defective is socially irresponsible. Replacing the good would result in the disposal of the damaged good which creates more wastage to the environment. In Singapore, cars are usually scrapped after ten years even though they could still be roadworthy. This results in increased wastage and demand for landfills. The Pulau Semakau landfill costs a hefty sum of $610 million to construct, creating another one with our limited land and resources would definitely be a huge challenge to the country. Thus, instead of buying a new item when defects arise, one could consider mending or exchanging it. Repairing the item could sometimes cost less.
For instance, mending a car poses as a more viable option in Singapore; especially in the recent years where cars prices are sky high. Instead of buying a new car, constant maintenance enables the car to still be roadworthy after ten years, saving one a substantial sum. Many electronic products also come with a guarantee that allows exchange if it proves to be faulty during the warranty period. This way, one is still able to derive personal satisfaction from mending or exchanging at no cost. I feel that the decision between buying new things or mending and exchanging is dependent on many factors. For smaller value items or items where repair cost is more than a new product, perhaps, the wiser choice would be buying a new one. However, for pricier items or products that allows exchanges, exchanging it could save one a significant sum; and mending possessions that are extremely rare or have a personal attachment could sometimes be the only option for an individual.
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