Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Economies of Elegance...

people decry scarcity but in a world of plenty it makes you ask yourself what do you really want. we are told we want everything in a cheap world. but if everything you own is cheap what do you value? Think about it, when food was scarce, a Rubeneque figure was the ideal of beauty, in a world of abundant food, rail stick thin became a sign of beauty (ok maybe sometimes societies overshoot in different ways). in a world of too many goods, why is profligate spending and consumption the norm instead of refined taste and priority?

in design we speak of blessed constraints that force elegant solutions. could we create an economy of elegance?

imagine you have a huge opportunity to move somewhere you really would want to go but there's a catch there is only room for half your current lifestyle. What stays and what goes with you?


At 12:56 AM , Anonymous CindyW said...

Cheap mindless mass consumption is becoming increasingly vulgar in my humble opinion. Your term "economy of elegance" works beautifully for me. I think the key you have raised here is constraints and trade-offs. If we continue the rate we are consuming, eventually we will collide into natural resource constraints in the most tragic way. However, foreseeing that, are we able to create intelligent "artificial" constraints to re-direct human behavior and steer away from the seemingly inevitable collapse. Jared Diamond seems to have provided a set of parameters for us to start with.

Anyway, love the thought-provoking thread you've started.


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