Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ditzy gizmotronics

Lately I've experienced a rash of failures in basic electrical equipment which really ought to be bulletproof at this point in history:
  • The Honeywell Winter Watchman line voltage thermostat locked on and overheated the root cellar after I changed the light bulb.  The thing rattles a little when you shake it and it may be sensitive to the angle at which it's resting.
  • One of the two Stanley Heavy Duty outdoor timers which are running the deicing cables in the septic line keeps forgetting its programming.  It's never really worked.
  • The compost bin vent fan quit.  I suspect the power pack.  It's putting out 24v and may have fried the fan.
These may be examples of quality fade.  That is when your overseas supplier cuts one percent cost out of the product every week until the product life drops to zero (one of the unintended consequences of globalization.)  Here's a good article about it.  

A lot of the commentary in the media these days assumes economic growth will soon be back on track, led by the developing world (BRIC.) This is commonly taken as an independent variable, an exogenous driving function. I don't know about Brazil or India but in the case of China this is clearly turning out not to be true. Because their growth was export-driven and those purchases were debt-financed, they were living in the same house of cards as us, next room over. Lately I've been noticing other articles about troubles in China:

3 comments:

chris said...

When I factor this information into the state of "everything else" ... I get a momentary feeling of being in a deep hole.

Correspondent said...

But then the feeling goes away and you're back to your regular self right? Party on.

Correspondent said...

But seriously, I strive to see clearly. Unless we face the true dimensions of our problems we won't find the right solutions. Not that I can fix China but I need to take it into account. The truth will set you free, but first it will make you sick.