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Nov 2014

Have We Become a Disposable Society?

I look around me today and see that I am surrounded by many products that are manufactured to only last 5 years or less. From a myriad of electrical appliances to clothing, motor vehicles, furniture and building materials, little is build to last the way it was 40 years ago.

Then I look around again in the world of business and commerce and see much the same. Bank relationships built on trust and a mutual confidence no longer exist.

Loyalty to customer or staff is about as durable and robust as a printed sheet of paper outlining the company’s monthly latest policy towards customer service – which is adequately demonstrated now by the use of outsourced customer call centres where the telephone is answered by someone who can barely understand the same language as the caller, let alone speak it.

Employment – if you are aged over 40 – becomes a challenge, effectively meaning that for many their working life might be restricted to only 20 years. And even staff training has become much less personalised as can be seen where today’s apprenticeship schemes see tomorrows tradesman being passed around a series of companies that will only employ them and offer training when work and profitability allows.

Even the existence and popularity of Reality TV that treats people as objects of fascination but enables cheap programming, and the media’s adoption of cheap sensationalist tabloid journalism to make money, points to a society that treats people as a disposable commodity. And a Credit system that insists on blaming and holding a person responsible for an error of judgement a decade earlier, could be described as doing the same.

And even our schools that find themselves unable to provide for 30% of students that are collectively given the questionable title of “Special Needs” because a child may be dyslexic, disabled, sight or hearing impaired, or told they have learning difficulties simply because they have a different learning style to the child sitting beside them. They are certainly being cast aside – a fact to which our prisons can atest.

So have we really become a disposable society? A society where people are cast aside and no longer valued as being the foundation of society itself. Or is this the side effect of being what we describe as a progressive society?


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