Every day, in every way, things get better and better

stuffIt is nice when someone points out the obvious fact that for most people, most stuff (i.e. consumer durables) is pretty good nowadays – at least compared with equivalent stuff from a long time ago. Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand discusses this is the 2008 World Question “What have I changed my mind about?” – he now believes that good old stuff sucks:

Well, I bought a sequence of wooden sailboats. Their gaff rigs couldn’t sail to windward. Their leaky wood hulls and decks were a maintenance nightmare. I learned that the fiberglass hulls we’d all sneered at were superior in every way to wood.

Remodeling an old farmhouse two years ago and replacing its sash windows, I discovered the current state of window technology. A standard Andersen window, factory-made exactly to the dimensions you want, has superb insulation qualities; superb hinges, crank, and lock; a flick-in, flick-out screen; and it looks great. The same goes for the new kinds of doors, kitchen cabinetry, and even furniture feet that are available — all drastically improved.

(New stuff is mostly crap too, of course. But the best new stuff is invariably better than the best old stuff.)

[via the Sachs Report][image from poagao on flickr]

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