If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Reason Magazine)   British artist sets out to build a toaster from scratch, inadvertently proves the wonders of capitalism   (reason.com) divider line 188
    More: Interesting  
•       •       •

21358 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Jun 2009 at 7:40 PM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



188 Comments   (+0 »)
   

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » | Last | Show all
 
2009-06-24 04:00:22 PM
FTA:

But as you might have guessed, the miracle of modern capitalism is lost on Thwaites and the eco-arts websites celebrating his experiment. He sees his project as a condemnation of trade, technology, and mutually beneficial exchange, not a celebration of it. Thwaites writes:

The point at which it stopped being possible for us to make the things that surround us is long past...This faintly ridiculous quest to make a toaster from the 'ground up' serves as a vehicle through which questions about economics, helplessness and life as a consumer can be investigated.


Way to miss the point, Reason.

Yes, it is rather remarkable how all the component parts and individuals come together to produce pencils, but I think Thwaites' point is that we're talking about the need for vast amounts of people across multiple industries working together to produce something as trivial as a pencil.
 
2009-06-24 04:02:07 PM
That has to be one of the most dubmbfounding leaps of logic I've seen in years.

Premise: Division of labor has advantages over single-person manufacturing.

Conclusion: Capitalism is better than communism, because people have greater life expectancies now than in 1893.
 
2009-06-24 04:02:19 PM
Not that Reason doesn't have a point at all, but to completely ignore the idea that Thwaites' is putting forward is a little silly.
 
2009-06-24 04:06:17 PM
Rev.K: but I think Thwaites' point is that we're talking about the need for vast amounts of people across multiple industries working together to produce something as trivial as a pencil.

Or pins in a pin factory
 
2009-06-24 04:13:23 PM
If he figures this out, he will be the toast of the internet.

Now if that's not ironic, I don't know what is.
 
2009-06-24 04:17:58 PM
Rev.K: Not that Reason doesn't have a point at all, but to completely ignore the idea that Thwaites' is putting forward is a little silly.

OK, you made me read up on Thwaites's point in case I was being too dismissive. Nope. The man's deeply ignorant.
 
2009-06-24 04:31:37 PM
notmtwain [TotalFark] Quote 2009-06-24 04:13:23 PM
If he figures this out, he will be the toast of the internet.

Only if he makes it a Steampunk toaster. Or if it toasts porn.
 
2009-06-24 04:45:13 PM
filth: OK, you made me read up on Thwaites's point in case I was being too dismissive. Nope. The man's deeply ignorant.

How so? What makes him so ignorant?

He's just seeing the other side of the coin. Where Reason sees great integration between economies to provide goods to individuals, Thwaites sees a fundamental inability for individuals to come anywhere near producing something even remotely similar.

Essentially they're both right.
 
2009-06-24 04:51:43 PM
Rev.K: filth: OK, you made me read up on Thwaites's point in case I was being too dismissive. Nope. The man's deeply ignorant.

How so? What makes him so ignorant?

He's just seeing the other side of the coin. Where Reason sees great integration between economies to provide goods to individuals, Thwaites sees a fundamental inability for individuals to come anywhere near producing something even remotely similar.

Essentially they're both right.


Don't bother--there's nothing like a Reason link to bring on a flood of LIBRLGARBL impervious to any argument.

/yes I know it's a mixed metaphor
 
2009-06-24 05:44:39 PM
Rev.K: filth: OK, you made me read up on Thwaites's point in case I was being too dismissive. Nope. The man's deeply ignorant.

How so? What makes him so ignorant?

He's just seeing the other side of the coin. Where Reason sees great integration between economies to provide goods to individuals, Thwaites sees a fundamental inability for individuals to come anywhere near producing something even remotely similar.

Essentially they're both right.


Maybe I'm being too harsh. I love his project and the sense of humor he has. But his pot-haze navel gazing about "ridiculous" industry, I find ignorant. You synthesize his point as "fundamental inability for individuals to come anywhere near producing something even remotely similar," which is a given; it's not even a point. The question is what it means. Thwaites doesn't provide and answer (not that I require artists to be able to explain themselves in prose).
 
2009-06-24 05:45:26 PM
Stick: Fire: Bread: Toast: Done.
 
2009-06-24 05:54:19 PM
Makh: Stick: Fire: Bread: Toast: Done.

Beat me to it. Then again, I doubt these artiste types would know how to start a fire, or clean the bark off a stick.
 
2009-06-24 05:59:12 PM
"The point at which it stopped being possible for us to make the things that surround us is long past...This faintly ridiculous quest to make a toaster from the 'ground up' serves as a vehicle through which questions about economics, helplessness and life as a consumer can be investigated."

It depends on what you surround yourself with.
I might not be able to make a plasma TV on my own, but I could make a wooden bench in a fashion with only sharpened flint and felled wood.

His statement about modern man being "helpless" isn't anything novel. No single man has been able to craft modern technology independently of others since the iron age.

I think a more interesting experiment would be to "devolve" certain bits of modern technology to a point that a small group of people could create it on their own.
 
2009-06-24 06:01:01 PM
img151.imageshack.us

Approves.
 
2009-06-24 06:08:14 PM
Talkie's the name, toasting's the game.
 
2009-06-24 07:45:54 PM
Eudeyrn: Approves.

YEAH TOAST!!

/Gotta have somethin' to go with the bacon and the eggs.
 
2009-06-24 07:47:43 PM
He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing, not of capitalism.

The same thing could be done by any system that uses mass-manufacturing, be it capitalist, socialist, communist or any other.
 
2009-06-24 07:48:00 PM
Hell, I can make coolaid, but it seems he drank it all.
 
2009-06-24 07:48:33 PM
Reactron: notmtwain [TotalFark] Quote 2009-06-24 04:13:23 PM
If he figures this out, he will be the toast of the internet.

Only if he makes it a Steampunk toaster. Or if it toasts porn.


dvice.com


What a steampunk toaster may look like.
 
2009-06-24 07:49:10 PM
found this, it's fun:

follownobody.duckweedmafia.com
 
2009-06-24 07:50:31 PM
Ontos: Eudeyrn: Approves.

YEAH TOAST!!

/Gotta have somethin' to go with the bacon and the eggs.


Wow, I saw that guys comedy act on tv YEARS ago. My dad recorded it and I used to watch it as a kid when I wanted to see some standup. The guy also did something called the Fly Song, where he put strainers over his eyes. Funniest thing to an 8 year old...
 
2009-06-24 07:51:31 PM
piltdown: He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing, not of capitalism.

Especially when one considers the probability of both the toaster and the pencil being made by communists.
 
2009-06-24 07:51:51 PM
img231.imageshack.us

You know who else tried to make toasters from scratch.
 
2009-06-24 07:52:11 PM
btw, what was his name?
 
2009-06-24 07:52:27 PM
piltdown: He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing, not of capitalism.

The same thing could be done by any system that uses mass-manufacturing, be it capitalist, socialist, communist or any other.



This point will be woefully lost on those who rationalize their Free market philosophy. Mark my words.
 
2009-06-24 07:52:51 PM
jgbrowning: piltdown: He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing, not of capitalism.

Especially when one considers the probability of both the toaster and the pencil being made by communists.


touche
 
2009-06-24 07:53:16 PM
To truly make a toaster from scratch, one must create the universe.
 
2009-06-24 07:53:58 PM
Makh: Stick: Fire: Bread: Toast: Done.


Where did you get that bread from, Chuckles?
 
2009-06-24 07:57:14 PM
piltdown: He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing, not of capitalism.

The same thing could be done by any system that uses mass-manufacturing, be it capitalist, socialist, communist or any other.


I'd like to see you assign millions of unique tasks to millions of individuals and have the resulting product be of more value than the effort and resources which were used to make it.

The point of the article that no single person can posess all the knowledge or resources to make certain useful items extends to the fact that no single person can posess and compute all the information nessecary to coordinate that production either.
 
2009-06-24 07:57:25 PM
Sorry, I fell asleep during this article. Was it any good?
 
2009-06-24 07:57:43 PM
nucular bum: To truly make a toaster from scratch, one must create the universe.

so profound

anyway, I think the author's point in criticizing the art student is sort of reflexive - you're throwing stones at someone for completely missing the other side of the story without acknowledging and addressing it.

the pencil allegory is really good, but any wasteland traveler already knows that at some point the junk we use is re-accreted into nature, it IS possible to build advanced technology on your own, you just gotta find the right parts to assemble your standard deathclaw gauntlet, dart gun, or soda grenade.
 
2009-06-24 07:57:48 PM
piltdown: He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing Division of Labor, not of capitalism.
 
2009-06-24 07:58:44 PM
Brilliant! Because, you know, without a system in place in which one uses bits of metal, paper, or something else to represent units of time, labor, or worth, to symbolize trade, and without the ability to use those token symbols--initially invented as a means of the ruling class to tax without having to hoard perishables--to barter and/or hoard, division of labor cannot exist.

And for the people being dismissed as stupid liberals: No, you'll never get through to them. Money's just too ingrained in most people for them to "get it."
 
2009-06-24 08:00:49 PM
Invite a couple friends over.
Give each a glass with tequila in it.
And say "Bottoms UP".
 
2009-06-24 08:01:22 PM
CaptainMidnight: piltdown: He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing, not of capitalism.

The same thing could be done by any system that uses mass-manufacturing, be it capitalist, socialist, communist or any other.


This point will be woefully lost on those who rationalize their Free market philosophy. Mark my words.


Not really, the point is that it's impossible to centralize the most simple things; that a complex system is best run in a humuncular fashion with different entitites specializing in certain parts that all come together for something simple. When its efficient, we call it the human body; when it's overly complex it becomes a bureaucracy.
 
2009-06-24 08:01:49 PM
It doesn't help that people forget how complicated things are. Yes it's a toaster but toasters have evolved over the years. You want to make a toaster on your own? Get a rock with a fairly flat surface. Get the rock real hot, say in a fire. Put your bread on the rock. Problem solved.

The point is while yes it would be hard for any one person to make any of the things we take for granted it doesn't mean we can't go back to the ancient ways of doing things. You want a pencil? Get some charcoal from that wood you burnt to heat the rock. Will it be pretty? No Will it work? Fark yeah...

farm4.static.flickr.com
 
2009-06-24 08:02:07 PM
Rev.K: Yes, it is rather remarkable how all the component parts and individuals come together to produce pencils, but I think Thwaites' point is that we're talking about the need for vast amounts of people across multiple industries working together to produce something as trivial as a pencil.

As trivial as one pencil is, the actual billions of pencils they really produce must be barely worth mentioning - beyond, of course, the statistical curiosity of it ...
 
2009-06-24 08:02:19 PM

FTFA:

And where Read expressed awe at the way so many people worked together - motivated only by self-interest
Rational self-interest is a myth. Which, I presume, is why Randians cling to it so tightly.
 
2009-06-24 08:02:46 PM
It's an interesting project, and it would have been interesting to read an interesting article about the process and the obstacles the guy encountered. Instead, we get another rote diatribe from another lolbertarian Mickey Marketeer.
Yeah, Poindexter, I've read my Rand and Smith. Now shut up and tell about how the guy tried to make a toaster.
Shiat-fire, how I hate ideologues. They suck all the joy out of life.
 
2009-06-24 08:03:36 PM
Makh: Stick: Fire: Bread: Toast: Done.

Sorry I didn't see your elegant post. At least some of us wont be wanting for toast if it all goes tits up. Cheers!
 
2009-06-24 08:03:38 PM
Rev.K: Not that Reason doesn't have a point at all, but to completely ignore the idea that Thwaites' is putting forward is a little silly.

Silly. But more power too him. I'm learning how to create ink pigments the old skool way for painting models, so I get the idea.

However.......the equipment necessary just for the smelting, molding and other processes (I'm assuming he's going to make the electronics by hand too?) are going to bankrupt a few people and probably take him 10 years. Nice, but silly.

/psssst dude...you can get the oil at autozone.
 
2009-06-24 08:03:52 PM
I think the Reason staff should have to live in a FTZ for a year. You know, for research.
 
2009-06-24 08:04:37 PM
Capitalism is three monkeys and a banana arguing over who gets to throw poo at the zookeeper.
 
2009-06-24 08:04:47 PM
To be fair, a non-Brit could have built one that didn't leak oil. It probably cost a lot to build that feature in.
 
2009-06-24 08:06:54 PM
theMightyRegeya:

It's interesting to consider the interaction between currency and division of labor. It is quite possible for division of labor to exist without currency, but it is much less efficient.

The coarsness of traded units is a problem; how many plows is a cow worth? What can you do if it's judged to be 1.5?

Transportation is a problem; all those bartered goods have to be shipped to a central place where the transaction takes place, and then shipped to where they'll be used. Instead of shipping directly from where they are produced to where they are needed.
 
2009-06-24 08:07:47 PM
piltdown: He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing, not of capitalism.

The same thing could be done by any system that uses mass-manufacturing, be it capitalist, socialist, communist or any other.


This. I wonder if we took a close look at various toasters on the shelf at the local Walmart/Target/Kmart, how many we could find were NOT made in a communist country.

Of course, my current toaster was made in Illinois in the late 50s or 60s (thanks grandpa!), and the fact it still works and makes a better piece of toast than any other toaster I've ever owned says something for lost US ingenuity.
 
2009-06-24 08:09:02 PM
Oh and just to add to my own post, petroleum refining? All I see is meth lab-style explosion and resulting fire in 3...2....
 
2009-06-24 08:11:28 PM
El Chode: CaptainMidnight: piltdown: He's explained the benefits of assembly-line manufacturing, not of capitalism.

The same thing could be done by any system that uses mass-manufacturing, be it capitalist, socialist, communist or any other.


This point will be woefully lost on those who rationalize their Free market philosophy. Mark my words.

Not really, the point is that it's impossible to centralize the most simple things; that a complex system is best run in a humuncular fashion with different entitites specializing in certain parts that all come together for something simple. When its efficient, we call it the human body; when it's overly complex it becomes a bureaucracy.


You mean the point where the author attempted to rationalize why all this is possible only through glorious capitalism? That point?

Fail.
 
2009-06-24 08:11:50 PM
the author makes it seem like we all just sit around watching "Ow My Balls" and the magical Capitalist free market fairy picks us up and drops us off at the mall to masturbate about how wonderful and effortless life in a free economy is.

one thing i've learned about a free economy, is that nothing is free, not even salvation.
 
2009-06-24 08:11:53 PM
It's a nice project. There's no reason to poopoo it. It isn't neccesary for art to answer questions. This guy is trying to start a conversation about how far removed we are from our new humanity, or when humanity was new to us as a species; we are essentially the same creatures, but we're no longer familiar with the newness of it. His work reminds me that evolution in technology does not neccesarily equate to progress as a human being, or a human society.

There was an article recently on FARK about how we've got agriculture to blame for most of our problems. I think this is essentially the same message, even if the artist doesn't think so.
 
Displayed 50 of 188 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » | Last | Show all



This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report