Throwaway Living-in 1955 and 2012

If you want to know how it is we ended up in the mess we're currently in, and why electing Republicans would be a really bad idea, since they want to take us back 1955 values, just check out the pic of the 1955 Life Magazine article, Throwaway Living.

Subtitled "Disposable Items Cut Down Household Chores", the article explains that:

"The objects flying through the air in this picture would take [the housewife] 40 hours to clean."

Good news however, as in 1955, new, more attractive, throwaway crap was filling up the store shelves, answering the needs of American women who, for example, knew that cleaning up a baby's shitty little ass is bad enough, but washing those damned diapers?! Hell no! And so men Marion came up with disposable diapers and other inventors with disposable everything else—to toss into landfills.

It is important to understand the implications of these attitudes about disposability. The advantage of being able to dispose of, rather than spend time and money resources to maintain, something, allows us to spend more time making more money, so we can then spend that additional income buying more disposable crap. The more disposable crap we buy, the more people have jobs to make the crap.

Unfortunately, whereas in 1955 employment was often a kind of a long-term relationship, with real guarantees for workers, 2012 employment opportunities are just as disposable as the junk the companies are making. Another way of freeing oneself from hi-cost keep-and-clean stuff (like employees) is to fire them and hire temps, or Chinese, or better yet just automate the job and remove the human impediment to efficiency.

Anyway, here's the list of cool, throwaway items from 1955 living:

  • Diapers
  • Paper Plates
  • Paper Towels
  • Throwaway Vases
  • Throwaway Flowers (ok these were always that way, but these are cheap plastic or paper)
  • Throwaway popcorn popper
  • Frozen food tray—AKA TeeVee Dinners
  • Paper Napkins
  • Throwaway water wings
  • Foil Pans
  • Paper Tablecloths
  • Paper Guest Towels (to show them you really care)
  • All-purpose throwaway bucket
  • Ash trays
  • Garbage bags
See, once upon a time, having all that crap available to buy was a labor-saving innovation and a really GOOD thing. Now, not so much. But the idea that living more naturally and low-tek is time-consuming and thus more expensive, is even more true today than it was then. The problem we have is that living the throwaway life, the convenient life, the polluting life, may be bad for the environment and our futures, but it still addresses a basic problem—a clock that is steadily offended by any suggestion that living 19th-century is any way a workable lifestyle for the 21st-century. 

In short, living simpler, living cleaner, living the keep-and-clean life just takes way too much time.

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