Monday, November 07, 2005

Consumption equals Gaul

Caesar famously said that omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est; so, now, is the full act of being a consumer reported to be. Except for necessary purchases of staple consumables and ingredients for cooking and baking (apart from some recent minor gift-buying activity, mostly things to read), there continues to be no wish around here to buy anything, merely to use what's available. The business press doesn't seem to agree whether consumer activity currently is lagging generally or not and how the economy is being affected. In a sidebar to an article in the November 14, 2005, issue of Fortune magazine, there's an interview with James P. Womack (Lean Enterprise Institute) and Daniel T. Jones (Lean Enterprise Academy). They analyze consumption as unpaid work by the buyer and user. The process of consumption, according to them, is tripartite: acquisition, installation, and maintenance. So it's not just the shopping; it's the aftermath. And it is work. And not pleasurable.


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