Made to Break
Technology and Obsolescence in America
By Giles Slade
Harvard University Press
by William S. Kowinski
As Steven Wright famously said, "You can't have everything. Where would you put it?" So you get rid of the old stuff, but what makes it old? The idea of products built not to last irks us, but for a variety of reasons we routinely discard devices that work just fine. Obsolescence by any other name has helped nourish a sweet economy, but a hidden cost is coming due fast, in the poisonous waste quickly overwhelming the world's capacity to deal with it.
Review continues in today's San Francisco Chronicle Book Review.