Quick, turn on a cooking show; what kind of stove are they using? I’m willing to bet they’re cooking on a gas stove. Professional chefs, both on and off television, nearly all agree, by evidence of their practice, that gas stoves are better for cooking than electric stoves. Most people who’ve cooked with both can tell you, there’s a difference in cooking quality. I, too, often find that my electric stove doesn’t really cook as nicely as the gas stoves I remember my family having when I was young.
The capitalist economy, however, has spoken; electric ranges are significantly cheaper than their gas-fired counterparts. Hegemonic intrusion of this sort into our lives is, under most circumstances, permitted. We don’t seem to mind being told what to do and how to do it, as long we’re deceived into thinking we have the option to do otherwise.
This situation, however, is slightly different, and I shall explain why. Normally, “consumers” actively make the choice to buy a cheeper good, even if it isn’t of the same quality. In this case, the decision is being made passively, by a third party, on the behalf of the consumer. That third party is usually either a real-estate development company, or a landlord. They’re the ones buying stoves for either new housing developments, or apartments.
As rational “consumers”, the aforementioned third parties weigh the pros and cons of an electric stove. Because they will not be the ones using it, their chief concern is price. Unlike the end consumer, they don’t worry much about the quality, durability, or other factors which the modern pop-capitalist model assumes are being taken into consideration.
The result is a less-desirable stove in more households, without direct input from the end-users. In turn, more money goes to the firm producing the stoves. As a response, the firm increases production of an inferior product – exactly the opposite of what society wants.
With 1/3rd of Americans renting, and more living in corporately-devoloped subdivisions, the number of households using undesirable stoves must be staggering.
I don’t believe flaws like this in the system are rare. I do, however, believe we choose not to see them, or fail to recognize them. It’s hard to critique a system when several generations have been trained not to question it.