Facebook's Libra plan: talk of the demise of central banks is greatly exaggerated

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes fears the Libra currency would insert a 'powerful new corporate layer of monetary control between central banks and individuals'.Gerd Altmann/Pixabay, CC BY-SAFacebook...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

How To Reduce The Number Of Health & Safety Incidents At Your Firm

No one likes a health and safety incident. It suggests that someone has been injured, or even worse. Even a slight injury is something you should strive to avoid completely. Even a close call of som...

News Company - avatar News Company

Amazon, Google and Facebook warrant antitrust scrutiny for many reasons – not just because they're large

Google's size isn't the only reason way it exerts market power.AP Photo/Jeff ChiuThere’s a growing chorus of U.S. politicians, antitrust scholars and consumer watchdogs calling for stricter anti...

Amanda Lotz, Fellow, Peabody Media Center; Professor of Media Studies, Queensland University of Technology - avatar Amanda Lotz, Fellow, Peabody Media Center; Professor of Media Studies, Queensland University of Technology

We probed Santorini's volcano with sound to learn what's going on beneath the surface

Sound waves let researchers visualize what's happening below the surface.Emilie Hooft, CC BY-NDThe island of Santorini in the Mediterranean has attracted people for millennia. Today, it feels magical ...

Emilie Hooft, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Volcanology Cluster of Excellence, & Oregon Hazards Lab, University of Oregon - avatar Emilie Hooft, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Volcanology Cluster of Excellence, & Oregon Hazards Lab, University of Oregon

Not all Americans have a fair path to a good death – racial disparities are real

Not everyone has a chance to die in peace and dignity.What does it mean to “die well”?The world got an idea recently from the 92-year-old Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh...

Jason Ashe, Doctoral Student (Ph.D.), Human Services Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County - avatar Jason Ashe, Doctoral Student (Ph.D.), Human Services Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Identifying a fake picture online is harder than you might think

If you know how photo editing works, you might have a leg up at spotting fakes.Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.comIt can be hard to tell whether a picture is real. Consider, as the participants in our recent...

Mona Kasra, Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design, University of Virginia - avatar Mona Kasra, Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design, University of Virginia

The civil rights activist so close to Martin Luther King Jr. she was thought of as his 'other wife'

Civil rights activist Dorothy Cotton teaches a student in one of her Citizenship Education Program classes.Bob Fitch Photography Archive, Department of Special Collections, © Stanford University ...

Jason Miller, Professor of English, North Carolina State University - avatar Jason Miller, Professor of English, North Carolina State University

US poverty statistics ignore millions of struggling Americans

Unemployment and a loss of health insurance are two problems not necessarily captured in official poverty measures.tuaindeed/Shutterstock.comWho counts as poor in the U.S. today?Measuring the share of...

Sophie Mitra, Professor of Economics, Fordham University - avatar Sophie Mitra, Professor of Economics, Fordham University

Corporate boards are supposed to oversee companies but often turn a blind eye

A lot of giant companies are getting into big trouble these days.When Boeing 737 Max aircraft crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing a total of 346 people in October 2018 and March 2019, the disas...

Siri Terjesen, Dean's Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship, American University Kogod School of Business - avatar Siri Terjesen, Dean's Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship, American University Kogod School of Business

Julie Gough's 'Tense Past' reminds us how the brutalities of colonial settlement are still felt today

A still from Gough's video Hunting Ground (pastoral).Author providedThe phrase “colonial settlement” sounds benign, but Julie Gough’s Tense Past presents compelling evidence to the c...

Julie Shiels, Lecturer - School of Art, RMIT University - avatar Julie Shiels, Lecturer - School of Art, RMIT University

Curious Kids: why do spiders need so many eyes but we only need two?

Jumping spiders, like this one, usually have eight eyes: two very large front eyes to get a clear, colour image and judge distance, and extra side eyes to detect when something is moving. Flickr/Thoma...

Samantha Nixon, PhD, The University of Queensland - avatar Samantha Nixon, PhD, The University of Queensland

Things to think about when talking funerals

Losing a loved one and coping with a death in the family is one of the toughest and most stressful things that a person has to cope with. It is not just about the grief, which is obviously a major t...

News Company - avatar News Company

Therapy at home simple ways

Making Yourself Happy Everyone always wants something from you and some days you have no time for yourself. Always remember it is very important for your well-being that you make yourself happy. Al...

News Company - avatar News Company

Eating young Hollywood stars

We see these young successful and beautiful actors and actresses and sometimes wonder – what do they do to be so attractive? Can I also become a star if I follow their regimes? The answer to the last ...

News Company - avatar News Company

John switches on the power saw he’s bought secondhand on eBay. The machine “arcs” – shooting out a visible electric charge. So he takes it apart to investigate. He identifies the problem: the field coil, a current-carrying component that generates an electric field. Once fixed, the saw works as new.

I met John during my doctoral research into tinkerers — people who love to adapt and repair things. But many things have become harder to fix.

Just a few decades ago, manufacturers packaged everyday appliances with instructions on how to repair them. Now they come with danger warnings and threats that doing so will void the warranty.

Read more: To beat the 'throwaway' waste crisis, we must design loveable objects – that last

Repair is discouraged by unavailable replacement parts, glued assemblies and tamper-proof cases that are difficult to open. So we discard things rather than fix them.

Much research suggests this harms more than the natural environment. It also affects our mental environment. There’s a connection between the way society treats material objects and the way it treats people.

Returning to an economy of repair could help create a kinder, more inclusive society. By mending broken things we might also help mend what’s broken in ourselves.

Repair is an investment of ourselves

The environmental case for a repair economy is obvious. It saves natural resources and reduces waste.

The product of our discard economy: a woman scavenges for recyclable plastics at the Dandora dump near Nairobi, Kenya. Daniel Irungu/EPA

There’s also a strong economic case. In his book Curing Affluenza, Australian economist Richard Denniss argues a community that repairs its goods “would employ more people, per dollar spent, than a community that instinctively disposes of them”. It would create more high-skill jobs and reduce the cost of living.

The social case is as strong. As Europe starts banning the disposal of unsold and returned consumer products, a mounting body of research shows that repair economies can make people happier and more humane.

During research for my 2017 book Tinkering: Australians Reinvent DIY Culture, I learned how material repair generates a deep sense of care, pride, belonging and civic participation.

Even solitary acts of repair involve a community of influences. Through acts of repair we experience products as expressions of our collective knowledge. Repaired products become bearers and extensions of personhood: like genomes, they carry their pasts within their presence.

By contrast, product obsolescence “blocks our access to the past”, argues Francisco Martínez, an ethnographer at the University of Helsinki. His research found repair was “helping people overcome the negative logic that accompanies the abandonment of things and people”. Repair made “late modern societies more balanced, kind and stronger”. It was a form of care, of “healing wounds”, binding generations of humanity together.

Like Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, Martínez draws parallels between the displacement and neglect of objects and those of people.

In Estonia, Martinez says, repairing things “establishes continuity, endurance and material sensitivity” in a society disrupted by Soviet-style socialism and subsequent transition to capitalism:

Contemporary mending and the reluctance to dispose of material possessions can also be a way to resist dispossession and adapt to convoluted changes; the act throwing away is perceived as a threat to memory, to security, and to historical and ecological preservation.

Similar observations have been made in different economies.

Studying Londoners living in reviled council flats following the Thatcher years, British anthropologist Daniel Miller observed residents who fixed their kitchens. Those with strong and fulfilling social relationships were more likely to do so; those with few and shallow relationships less likely.

Miller is among many scholars who have observed that relationships between people and material things tend to be reciprocal. When we restore material things, they serve to restore us.

Right to repair movement

Repair economies don’t regard material things as expendable. They relocate value in the workings, relations and meanings of things. By contrast, consumer economies encourage us to relate with products in ways that damage the planet and promote a kind of learned helplessness.

In response, the global “right to repair” movement has mobilised.

The Repair Manifesto. www.ifixit.com

Initiatives include community tool libraries and repair cafés, where people take their broken things, share tools and get expert guidance on how to fix them. There are swap-meets, Remakeries, Mens’ Sheds, visible mending workshops, Hackerspaces, Restart Parties and Commons Transitions enterprises.

Such “glocal” — at once global and local — initiatives reinscribe humane values into mass culture. They encourage participatory citizenship and create informal exchanges of knowledge, skills, materials, goodwill and values. They create what sociologists call cultural capital, the benefits of which are recognised in public health funding of initiatives such as Men’s Sheds.

In Europe, environment ministers are pushing laws obliging manufacturers to make appliances repairable and enduring. Many US states are considering “fair repair” laws, and federal authorities have deemed it unlawful for phone and other tech manufacturers to prevent owners repairing their products. In Australia, state governments are considering ways to promote a “circular economy”, in which material resources circulate for as long as possible.

Read more: Explainer: what is the circular economy?

We already have the tools to move away from an economy that values overconsumption and wasting resources. Doing so would allow us to fix more than just our products.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/mending-hearts-how-a-repair-economy-creates-a-kinder-more-caring-community-113547