The right to repair

About 2 years ago, my laptop’s battery turned weak.

Otherwise, my laptop was in excellent shape. It just needed a new battery. I looked up the manufacturer’s website for new batteries – they weren’t selling any. Therefore, I was forced to buy a battery from a small, non-descript Chinese company and trust that it worked. Luckily it worked beautifully, and I continue to use the same laptop to type out this post.

But the lesson here is that my manufacturer intentionally made it hard for me to repair my laptop. They would rather that I discard this machine and buy a new one.

Today’s devices are increasingly turning hard to repair. This applies to clothes, electronic devices and even automobiles. Instead of screws, parts are glued shut. Individual parts aren’t sold anymore. The moment one part of a device stops functioning, we are encouraged to throw it away and buy a new one.

As consumers, we are victims of this trend. But this need not be the case. As consumers, we have agency. When consumers talk, companies listen. If we only bought devices that can be repaired, manufacturers will take note.

Use-and-throw consumerism is a trend driven by capitalism that dents our culture. But capitalism needs to bend over to serve culture. Not the other way around.

Inspiration: Why everything you buy is worse now

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