Thursday, May 7, 2015
The Price Of Progress
In 1999, I bought the electric mower you see to the left. It cost NZD269.00. The blade was not much over a foot wide (30cm), so the cut was narrow. To adjust the height, each wheel had to be unscrewed and screwed into another hole. Three height settings in all. The catcher held very little and the motor wasn't that powerful. It was maneuverable because it was small and light. It gave up in 2015.
I bought a new mower and it cost NZD249.00. The blade is about a 25% wider so cuts more. The height has five settings, easily adjusted with a lever. The catcher is about 50% larger, and the motor feels twice as powerful yet perhaps slightly less noisy. It isn't as easy to negotiate corners, but it does have a convenient handle on the top of the motor to lift it up, which the older mower didn't have.
So in fifteen years, the price has dropped and I got a lot more lawn mower as well. It would be hard not to say that our purchasing power is much greater than it was. People may complain about the cost of living but the cost of living has gone down.
The problem is there is so much more to spend on and expectations have risen accordingly. The truth is as far as purchasing power is concerned, we can buy more for less and that is progress. If only these things can be disposed of without hurting the environment. Then that would be real progress.