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"people often complain that products are not made to last. they feel that making products that wear out fairly quickly wastes both natural and human resources. what they fail to see, however, is that such manufacturing practices keep costs down for the consumer and stimulate demand."
which do you find more compelling, the complaint about products that do not last or the response to it? explain your position, using relevant reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.
many people feel that products are not made to last, and correspondingly, many natural and human resources are wasted. on the other hand, it can be noted that such manufacturing practices keep costs down and hence stimulate demand. in this discussion, i shall present arguments favoring the former statement and refuting the latter statement.
products that are not made to last waste a great deal of natural and human resources. the exact amount of wasted natural resources depends on the specific product. for example, in the automobile industry, the yugo is the classic example of an underpriced vehicle that was not made to last. considering that the average yugo had (not "has," since they are no longer produced!) a life expectancy of two years and 25,000 miles, it was a terrible waste.
automobile industry standards today create vehicles that are warranteed for about five years and 50,000 miles. by producing cheap yugos that last half as long as most cars are warranteed, the yugo producer is wasting valuable natural resources. these same resources could be used by ford or toyota to produce an escort or tercel that will last twice as long, thereby reducing the usage of natural resources by a factor of two.
human resources in this example are also wasteful. on the production side, manufacturers of a poor-quality automobile, such as the yugo, get no personal or professional satisfaction from the fact that their product is the worst automobile in the united states. this knowledge adversely affects the productivity of the yugo workers.
conversely, the workers at the saturn plants constantly receive positive feedback on their successful products. saturn prides itself with its reputation for quality and innovation—as is seen in its recent massive recall to fix a defect. this recall was handled so well that saturn's image was actually bolstered. had a recall occurred at a yugo plant, the bad situation would have been even worse.
another factor in the human resources area is the reaction by the consumer. a great deal of human resources have been wasted by yugo owners waiting for the dreaded tow truck to show up to haul away the yugo carcass. any vehicle owner who is uncertain of his/her vehicle's performance at 7 a.m., as he/she is about to drive to work, senses a great deal of despair. this is a great waste of human resources for the consumer.
while the consumer senses the waste of natural and human resources in a poor quality product, so does the manufacturer. people who argue that low quality manufacturing processes keep costs low for the consumer and hence stimulate demand should look at the yugo example. in the mid-1980s, the yugo was by far the cheapest car in the united states, at $3,995. by 1991, the yugo was no longer sold here and was synonymous with the word "lemon."