June 24, 2013 AT 7:00 am

We Need a Fixer (Not Just a Maker) Movement

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We Need a Fixer (Not Just a Maker) Movement.

You’ve heard about the “maker movement,” the geeks who’ve been rebooting America’s craft tradition. It’s a grassroots success story, refueling interest in engineering and giving kids practical skills with tools. But now we need something new. We need to apply those maker skills to what we already own, giving broken devices a new lease on life.

We need, in short, a fixer movement. This would be a huge cultural shift. In the 20th century, U.S. firms aggressively promoted planned obsolescence, designing things to break. Buying new was our patriotic duty: “We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace,” marketer Victor Lebow wrote in 1955.

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3 Comments

  1. “Fixer” is commonly used in Germany to name an drug addict.

  2. I totally agree! I always take a shot at repairing devices/appliances/tools rather than discarding them into the enormous midden-heap that may be our 20th-21st centuries’ greatest “achievement”. Many SF writers have posited that this will not be known as the the “space age” or the “electronics age” but as the “Age of Waste”. Our greatest oppsition in reversing this trend may be the manufacturers themselves with planned obsolesence and designed unrepairability to drive purchases. The second, intellectual laziness, as it takes effort to learn how to repair and actually perform diagnoses and repairs. Thirdly, older technology that still performs its functions, e.g. an iPod 2 isn’t considered “cool” or “sexy”.
    All hail the fixers!

  3. I completely agree with this post, and they are different but related skill sets.

    But mostly I just wanted to play with the cool resistor gadget to leave a comment…

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