On Tuesday, I booked a vehicle with my car sharing co-op, and drove into the deep suburbs, to do some shopping.
I stopped in at IKEA and bought some nice cordless rechargeable solar garden lights, named Solvinden. Here is one in my garden, among the fading narcissus, burning off the day’s accumulation of energy:
They were appealingly priced, and I think they were on sale, for $4 each (regularly $5).
I have bought similar devices in the past, and all have failed after about six months. They are cheaply-made, and not easy to repair. These may not last long, and if they are still burning a year from now, I’ll be mildly surprised. These lamps are of course made in China, and this is not to fault the Chinese. When I was a boy in North America, Japan was our China, and Japanese a word that meant cheap junky technology. China is on the way to somewhere else, just as we are.
I’m struck by the fiscal history of this lamp, which I perceive only dimly. What titanic machinery is in play, that digs up the metals and minerals and petrochemicals, that marshals the capital and labour, that fashions and delivers a thing so resolutely disposable as this.