Wouldn't it be nice if you could make a pancake breakfast with pancakes in the shape of your kids' faces? Well, now you can! For around 800 too 1000 dollar you can become the proud owner of a 3D Pancake Food Printer. Originally called the PancakeBot, the idea was first publicly announced as a kickstarter project in 2016...
By now the PancakeBot isn't heard of anymore, and the Chinese version of Amazon, Alibaba, was the only place I could still find to buy this machine, or a clone thereof, for 800 to 1000 dollar: Digital New Design Chocolate 3D Pancake Food Printer The kickstarter page still exists here, but it says "patent pending" in the upper right corner; maybe that's why I could only find a Chinese clone... During the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Motorola unveiled the Scout 5000, a collar which is being billed as a smartphone for dogs; the device makes it possible to video chat with your pet. Right now the GoPro Fetch Dog Harness is still available, to "capture the world from your dog's point of view"... Whatever. That's not important. What is important though is that these are examples of the completely ridiculous products being invented and pushed as a result of the consumerism that goes hand in had with capitalism on steroids.
There are portable watermelon coolers. There are snow-saunas; press a button and snow will fall out of the ceiling. On tigersheds.com you can buy a Spider Proof Shed for only 2500 British pounds (3,392 dollar). But hey, as long as there's a market for nonsense, nonsense is what we'll produce. And if that market doesn't exist, we'll create it; how else will we be able to destroy the planet as well as our minds in the name of economical growth? Seriously though, in capitalism the people with disposable income are prime targets; they are the ones after all who have money to spare after their basic and not so basic needs are fulfilled. So in order to keep growing this system needs to produce more and more ridiculous stuff. And it does so without regard for the dying planet. I've mentioned some of the more extreme examples here, but we have to recognize that consumerism is a direct result of the ideology that necessitates eternal growth, and that this is unsustainable on our finite planet.
I've written this short introduction as an invitation to listen to a brilliant speech by George Monbiot, linked below. He gives a compelling account of three invisible ideologies, three systems of thinking and behaving that are so common, so widespread, that we don't recognize them as ideologies: Capitalism, Consumerism and Neo-Liberalism. He calls it "the unholy trinity", and rightly so in my opinion, not just because of the damage done by these ideologies, but also because to the extent that they are recognized as such, they've become more akin to religion; their premises are simply believed without the need for proof; "it's just the way things are, and trying to change it is pointless." Well, that's what people thought about feudalism. The only difference is that now change isn't a question of choice, but of necessity. The now global mindset that produces products like the PancakeBot is rushing us towards the total destruction of the environment we need to survive. The planet will be okay; it's our grandchildren we need to worry about; let's have them remember us as giving a damn about them...
George Monbiot - The invisible ideology - Part 1- Consumerism, capitalism and neo-liberalism
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