The Quaint Economy and Its Influence on Products
Excerpt from Conner Sen's blog post about quaint economy:
"It gets to our complicated relationship with capitalism in this era of “late capitalism," where we’re getting close to being able to mass produce/mass consume anything we want at the flick of a switch on a 3D printer."
"Part of it, and this is what the tech utopians/dystopians miss, is the ugly side of American status-seeking and our belief that “anything anyone can have isn’t worth having," which is why we’ll continue to buy 2 carat diamonds when far-cheaper cubic zirconia alternatives may have similar curb appeal. If technology and capitalism can give us any artifact we want, then we’ll crave artifacts technology and capitalism struggle to provide (old barn wood, which is scarce). But the other part taps into our collective distrust of capitalism in recent years. Capitalism, we believe, led to the finance industry swindling us by giving some people mortgages they couldn’t afford, and selling those mortgage securities to pension funds that are supposed to provide for us in retirement. Capitalism lets soda and fast food companies market products to our kids that make them sick and increases the costs on the healthcare system. It lets retailers buy lead-based toys from China, and grocers buy monoculture and corn-based frankenfoods from big agriculture. It lets healthcare companies deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions."
"Consumers have stopped trusting capitalism devoid of values and morality. Which is where the desire for authenticity-based consumption comes in."
"If you have a unique foundational story about your product or company — you got fired from your corporate job, hiked the Appalachian Trail, and met the love of your life at a maple syrup farm in Vermont, leading you to get into the syrup business — then your passion for your work is seen as more important to you than the commerce side of the work. We trust producers that put their values, work, and customers before profits."
The Business Insider's article by Shane Ferro puts it like this. "TQE is full of ironies. For one thing, says Dominguez, much of TQE is really about a nostalgia for a modernist culture that was, at the time, 'hell bent on destroying the past.' For another, Sen writes, ‘authenticity is all about placing barriers on growth, which is interesting now that corporations and firms are trying to scale the authenticity economy.'"