Whilst public criticisms of an increasingly wasteful consumer society emerged already in late nineteenth Century, the specific concept of a “Throwaway Society” was first used in the early 1960s. This short communication sketches the passionate debate around planned obsolescence and oversaturated consumers and offers a short historical glimpse at a persistent, existential problem that still awaits effective solutions.
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Consumption historian Trentmann (2016, pp. 622–675) completed his comprehensive world report on the history of consumption and “the empire of things” with a separate chapter on the throwaway society where he looked into historical and regional circumstances of its genesis.
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See also the quite pessimistic epilogue in (Trentmann 2016, pp. 676–690).
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Hellmann, KU., Luedicke, M.K. The Throwaway Society: a Look in the Back Mirror. J Consum Policy 41, 83–87 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-018-9371-6
- Planned obsolescence
- Throwaway culture
- Throwaway society
- Consumer culture