The Great Awakening : The Appliance Apocalypse Has You.
It all starts with the right question. The moment you ask the right question, a chain reaction begins. It is an event horizon moment leading inevitably to the truth. If you are ready to cross the Rubicon against the advice of the consensus keepers, then you are in the right place. But, unfortunately, we have much to unlearn.
I can already sense your next question. So please tell me what the question is that I need to ask to get to the truth so I can get on with it already. I have slated 8 minutes to read this, and I am already getting distracted. So please get on with it.
In other articles, I take the lead and immediately tell you what the problem is. I take great pains in those articles to make the situation clear and the solution simple, compelling, and easily implemented. But, I am not going to do that this time.
To properly approach a critical question that can lead to the truth, we must prepare ourselves. A weary traveler from apocryphal antiquity received admonishment to know thyself before coming to the Oracle. Why? Because mind control will continue until sovereignty improves.
To come upon the right question, we must be willing to see what has been blocking that question all along. Unfortunately, most people ask questions flippantly and don't take the special care needed to approach the question correctly.
I realize that most people want me to tell them what appliance brand is a safe bet for their money. So please, Mr. Appliance Guru, tell me where to hedge my bets. However, they cannot fathom that there is not a single safe brand today. Unfortunately, that salient truth escapes most. It all comes back to asking the right question.
Those sacred appendages of the modern home, household appliances, have been under attack for fifty years. As a result, the machines of the house are now hollowed-out husks devoid of value.
To look into this situation, I could, first, blame the dangers of the unfettered, out-of-control corporate-power-profit-motive to make it appear that we need more government intervention. I could make an excellent argument for that point of view. The act of destroying the factories here in search of ever-cheaper labor and taxes in a foreign land is a special kind of mental illness. It is turning the US into a valueless wasteland of mindless consumers. But, in this case, it is the wrong direction.
Suppose that I wanted to attack and blame government intervention. In that case, I could show that each regulation enacted to reduce energy usage by household appliances has had a deleterious effect on the quality and durability of these machines. I could blame the dangers of corrupt government scientists and lawmakers working covertly with private industry to mandate changes to appliances of no valuable good. That also is moving away from the most crucial question.
In the US, it is too easy to fall into the ditch of politics as we live amid a brutal mental civil war between our country's two-party system. Every voter habitually consents to this never-ending info-war between these ideologies. But, unfortunately, the fog of this war has created so much confusion that it is tough to ask the right questions.
In 1970, you could buy a refrigerator built locally or regionally that could last forty to fifty years. That refrigerator constructed with high-quality raw materials had a powerful, nearly infinite cooling engine. Its paint job of gleaming white never faded. Its chrome handles never rusted. That refrigerator was an asset of enduring value to the home. That same value is no longer accessible to us these fifty years later. Let that statement sink in for a minute.
As I said before, it all comes down to asking the right question. Why am I no longer able to access appliances of enduring value? But, the question is more significant than to be just about appliances. Why can't I access anything of enduring value today?
The companies that built these machines of enduring value were themselves assets to their communities as well. But, mostly, they are all gone. So, along this line, another good question is: Why isn't there a single factory in my state or regional area that can build appliances of enduring value? When did we consent to the destruction of these essential assets? When did we accept that our household machines would have very little actual value?
The answer has a lot to do with the forced decoupling of our currency from a finished metal product which occurred 50 years ago this August. This decoupling occurred because wars and entitlement programs led the government to create more money than it had gold in its vaults. Gold, which is just a finished metal product usually holds its value because it takes a lot of work to produce it. It is a good measuring stick because the actual value of a good or service is often elusive, and we are easily distracted by shiny or complex things that have no value.
I am not saying that a gold-backed dollar is an answer to these questions. I am merely pointing out that we don't have a proper understanding of what value is. Because of that, the enduring value gets lost while we are distracted by shiny or overly complex things of little or no value.
Let's take it a step further. It appears that we are often willing to exchange actual enduring value for perceived value if the perceived value is shiny and has an air of complexity about it. It is only after being conned out of all our cash at a three-card monte stand that we resign ourselves back to the ring toss. It is only after being tricked by fools' gold that we crave the real thing.
The right question always leads to understanding, which leads to even better questions in pursuing truth. For example, why can't I buy the same refrigerator that my grandparents bought 50 years ago? The answer to that question will probably shock you. Firstly, thanks to well-meaning government agency regulations, it is illegal to build the refrigerator that your grandparents owned. Secondly, even if it was legal, you could not afford it.
Let's tackle the first answer. The American EPA enforces its energy efficiency policies through the weaponization of subsidies. For example, federal regulations require that the product conforms to certain weaker specs to obtain government money. This requirement makes it hard for a manufacturer to compete if they refuse to comply and fail to receive the subsidy offered to those that comply. It is what conservatives and libertarians call: allowing the government to pick winners and losers.
In primary school, we learned that energy is the ability to do work. Therefore, when you reduce the energy that an appliance receives, you also reduce the amount of work done. For example, when engineers reduce the amount of copper in a compressor motor, the refrigerator will run on less energy. But, the reduction in the quality and size of the copper windings makes the unit work harder, leading to higher internal temps, friction, and earlier failure.
Reducing the total amount of raw materials used in constructing an appliance to minimize energy usage is just a clever way of hiding the loss of real value from the appliance. The energy efficiency scam perpetuated by often well-meaning academic and goverment actors is a three card monte that will eventually lead to the complete loss of value from all household appliances.
Let's now look at the second answer. Even more puzzling is that we could not afford the refrigerator built around 1970. None of my grandparents had a credit card, and they worked in minimum wage factory jobs for a living. Yet, they could afford something entirely impossible for me to afford or acquire today. This statement indicates that there is something is wrong with our access to value today.
Cognitive dissonance occurs when the mind has to evaluate opposing contradictory points of view. For example, a 90-year-old William Shatner traveled on a privately owned rocket into outer space in 2021 and returned safely. Yet, in the same year, no one in the US could purchase a well-built refrigerator like those made in 1970. So how is it possible that both of those statements are true?
Now let's examine what the 1970s refrigerator would cost in today's money. If we want to talk about the exchange or purchase in ounces of gold, it took 23 ounces of gold at $35 per ounce to buy a refrigerator in 1970. That puts the price tag at about forty-one thousand dollars to buy that same 1970s refrigerator today measured in ounces of gold.
The gold comparison is one lens for examining how we got here. So let's look at another way. In 1970, the average household income was about $10,500 per year, and the refrigerator cost was $800. With these two amounts, we can determine that a refrigerator purchase was about 8 percent of a household's annual income in 1970.
The average household income today, according to government sources, is approaching $80,000 annually. Therefore, using the percentage from above, we can see that a refrigerator from 1970 would cost about $6400 in today's money.
I am not saying that the refrigerator would cost either of those amounts if it were possible to obtain today. Unfortunately, both methods of measuring the price of a fridge above are error-prone. So instead, I am pointing out that our ability to measure actual value over time is diminishing even with apparent yard sticks.
To go deeper, after a look at the raw materials, cost of US labor, a local production facility, and transportation to retail outlets, the 1970s refrigerator that retailed for $800 then would cost about $25,000 today. This hidden fact, now revealed, is the real answer to the question: why we can't have nice things.
These are the questions I hear all the time from my customers trying to figure out what is going on: So, what's a good brand these days....? I heard that Maytag was still good. What do you think of GE?.... Consumer Reports says LG is best. But then again, my neighbor had issues with LG from the beginning when she bought her fridge. My wife wants a Samsung...What do you think of them? How about Kenmore? Are they still alright? They were the best at one time, weren't they?
These questions from well-meaning customers never approach the truth of what has happened to us. In previous generations, you could buy any brand. It didn't matter. They were all of exceptional quality and value made locally or regionally. Those questions are infinitely circular from an old world that no longer exists anymore and, will never lead to the truth.
The truth is that today those brands only exist as the valueless named leftovers from a world quickly turning to stone.
It is my opinion that all new appliances last 5-7 years. During that short useful life, the appliance will break down at least twice. The incidence of failures at the end of the first year of warranty is shocking and likely planned. By the third time it breaks down, if you keep it, you will have paid for the unit in full again through repairs. Though most will probably consign the still-shiny-boat-anchor-appliance to oblivion after repair number two.
Those who elect to go for the cheapest brand possible will face an expediated entrance into misery. They will find that those appliances last about 1-3 years and break down before the end of the first year in warranty.
Now, I am not a despair merchant or a pessimist. I didn't write this article to make you feel bad or convince you that I was right. But, I am also not an addict to the US version of Hopium. I think a lot of people believe things are actually getting better and, that is going to make it harder for them when the truth of our predicament is seen by all.
I write these essays to help my customers gain a proper understanding of reality, well, at least, as I see it regarding appliances. I write them with a sense of urgency because time is not on our side. In all likelihood, these problems will get far worse before we see any resistance to the wholesale destruction of value.
I know that our journey back from the wasteland of the appliance apocalypse starts with asking the right questions. Why can't I buy a quality-made valuable appliance anymore? How do we fix that problem? We must collectively and individually summon the vitality to urgently address these questions. Start your journey today. Ask the questions and begin the great awakening. The appliance apocalypse has you.