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The Brittle Spear, Part I: A Disposable World

As the tip of a spear grows ever sharper, it also becomes more brittle. Much has been said about planned obsolescence where companies engineer products to fail earlier than they should.

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Part 2

Part 3

Part 3.

Rather than make a product last as long as it can, they build in fissures that will rupture at a future date, breaking the product, so a new replacement one will have to be bought. Engineering fault lines designed into your new phone makes for some exciting speculation. At the same time, market forces may have a more fundamental impact on the quality of the next thing that you buy. Low-value competition and value chains where choice is price-driven mean that businesses judge suppliers by one KPI alone: price. Quality is a minimum viable measure, and then only price matters. In such a world, your thing will be made from lots of things all obtained for the lowest […]

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