We must shape a new mentality.

Doris Salcedo

doris-salcedo-istanbul-installation2-537x365
1550 Chairs Stacked Between Two City Buildings, an installation by Doris Salcedo at Istanbul Biennial 2010.

Tommy Papaioannou – June 2016

The words of Paul Mazur, a leading Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in 1927, were clear: “People must be trained to desire, to want new things even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality”.[1]

The Waste Makers is a book that was written in 1960 by Vance Packard and describes this mental invasion in all its glory.

“The emerging philosophy was most fervently and bluntly stated perhaps in two long articles in The Journal of Retailing during the mid-fifties. The author was Marketing Consultant Victor Lebow. He made a forthright plea for “forced consumption.”

“Our enormously productive economy . . . demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. . . We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing rate.”[2]

The results are: a total disregard to humans, the society and the planet in the name of “growth”. The plan had unbelievably “good” results. Today’s global consumption is exceeding earth’s capacity by 50%. Continuing on this manner by 2030 we will need two earths to support our consumer needs.[3] Resources are running out and pollution is happening in all stages of a products life, from material extraction to product disposal.

Design has played its’ role in this effort. Graphic, interior and industrial design have been generally orientated towards this effort. Mainstream design education is usually market affiliated and it is perceived as a vital part of the consuming process.

 

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[1] https://www.frieze.com/article/truth-dare

[2] The Waste Makers, Vance Packard, 1960 Penguin Books, page 31

[3] UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT ASSEMBLY. 2014. Sustainable Consumption and Production: an important contribution to the Post-2015 development Agenda and the SDGs [Online]. http://www.unep.org/10yfp/Activities/InternationalActivities/tabid/106470/Default.aspx.

 

 

 

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