Should things last forever?

Last week we explored a few things that have the ability to last a really long time. But the million-dollar question is; should things last forever? What are the repercussions of creating permanent things?

You keep hearing the phrase, ‘back in the day things were made to last a lifetime.’ This was followed with the names of countries that made brands that lasted forever. Lately, there are some countries that are well known for the temporariness of their products; a pair of nice looking (usually brightly colored) shoes can be bought, worn and torn on the same day within hours of buying them. How do they have the audacity to produce and sell such goods beats one’s understanding! Well as that is the case, it is also true that some companies continue to make life-long goods and equipment. It is just that you have to look much harder and spend more time confirming the longevity and hardiness of the product as there are so many on the market that look promising but fade away shortly after!

Apparently, there is a term for the deliberate updating of appliances and other things, making them useless or less desirable after a given period of time. Consequently, forcing you to buy the newest model or design on the market. Planned obsolescence – that is the term. 

What would happen if you bought a phone that lasted forever? Imagine if you had a tablet that lasted for forty years without breaking down? That would mean the manufacturers would go out of business because consumers would buy their products once and for all! No jobs for marketers for those doing the actual production, owners of shops and the attendants in those shops and a huge number of people will all be out of employment.

The ironic thing is that the only constant thing is change itself. That implies that human beings keep evolving together with the gadgets and technology that are produced for the needs in that particular time. With the increasing change in climate, information, and generally people’s way of life, it is impractical to manufacture long lasting things that may become irrelevant in a few years.  With the heightened frenzy of acquiring the latest gadget, car, service producers have no alternative than to oblige.

Our relationships with each other have not been spared in this ever-changing trend of Facebook and WhatsApp status updates. It seems it is not trendy at all to nurture long lasting friendships as one needs to continually change their profile picture to fit in the times!

Lois Nakibuuka is an educator and counsellor