Our dishwasher gave out a fairly long time ago, and we put off the service call, as Rusty was keeping up with the dishes. But then it started leaking backed-up wastewater on the floor (which turned out to have been a result of Rusty mucking with the hoses under the sink) so we felt we had to. We got a terminal diagnosis. I contemplated a replacement, looked on line, finally went into Sears to see what they had, and for how much. And I decided to forget about it. Now, my parents always had a dishwasher. I’ve had one when I could.It seemed like one of the essential accessories of middle-class life. But I have an issue with spending $400 or so on something that will last only 6 years. The salesman at Sears told me they’re only getting 7-10 out of them, because they’re made more cheaply now. And the new green dishwasher detergent doesn’t work worth crap. So why should I eat $7/mo. plus operating costs, for something that doesn’t operate? This is, I think, the first time I’ve abandoned a technology because politics and politically-distorted market forces have made it useless to me. It’s not an issue of scale, like avoiding a haybine in favor of a scythe, or a bulk milk tank in favor of gallon jugs and mason jars. We dirty enough dishes to make it worthwhile and desirable…if it worked and would last.
And there’s Japan. Practically the first thing I said to Rusty about it was, “Watch the electronic supply chain get screwed.” It wasn’t quite that, but the Tee Vee this morning was all about Japanese cars and their availability or lack thereof. Most of the plants are here, and as long as they can get parts, they’re OK. But the Prius is made over there, and over there is shut down. Now I’m not going to cry about some liberal douche in Madison WI not being able to get the car he wants. But it’s clear evidence of the fragility of our most advanced technologies. Rusty said she heard that American auto companies were helping their Japanese counterparts, and she said, “Screw that; they should overtake them.” That’s what American companies used to do, you know; somebody would stumble, maybe through no fault of their own, and they’d grab their market share.
Regardless of how the nuclear issue turns out, when the techno-monks of 2100 write the history of the collapse of civilization, the market crash of 2008 and the earthquake of 2011 will be the defining moments. You haven’t seen the last of this disaster, boys and girls, not by a long shot.