Monday, May 16, 2011

Consumers and Trash: Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash

I posted an article recently about the use of the word "consumer" rather than "citizen," and Katie Dunn, formerly a librarian at Grinnell College (and greatly missed!) and currently a librarian at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY, agreed that the use of the word consumer was as she put it "weird" and "disturbing." She responded with her thoughts on a book she is currently reading. Thank you Katie!

Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash by Susan Strasser. NY: Metropolitan Books, 1999
Burling 2nd floor  HD4482 .S77 1999
Reviewed by Katie Dunn

". . .  I am in the middle of this really cool book, Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. It has a lot about how marketing was used to get people used to the idea of replacing things before they were actually worn out, and to give up the idea of saving/reusing/repurposing things. It shows how changes in how people think of or handle waste changed over time as a result of other things that were going on at the time. It's not a lefty polemic type book (though I tend to enjoy those, too), just a nifty history with a lot of interesting details from primary sources. Recommended!"

If you are interested in this book, you might be interested in the classic: Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher. NY: Harper & Row, 1975. Burling 2nd floor HB171 .S384 1975 or Economic Growth and Environmental Quality: How to Have Both by Barry Commoner. NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995. Science Library GE42 .E18 1995.

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