Shop conscientiously : Buy local, Choose handmade, Connect with artists
Human progress and mechanization
In the 1700s, the Industrial Revolution broke into the world, changing the way humans would continue to make their food, clothes, and everything else needed. Till then, most products were made individually, and a single unit could be attributed to the efforts of one person or a group of people.
Important inventions like the steam engine and electric motor were born. Ford perfected the assembly line method to manufacture automobiles and this would then be applied to other industries as well. Progress hurled itself at mankind. Thanks to mass production, human time was optimized. Wealth and economies grew but so did exploitation of labour. Human effort here was attributed as repetitive tasks that did not require much skill. Anyone could be replaced, and work would still go on without a difference in output in terms of quality.
The disconnection between makers and consumers
It has been centuries since then and here we are today – in a time when the evolution of consumer needs and desires has reached a state and the line between basic needs and a luxury is blurred. Technology grows exponentially, adding convenience to our daily lives. Every day we eat food grown in factories, shop for products made by conglomerates. Sure, there are labels to show us the ingredients and expiry dates but there is no escaping the fact that we have reached a state of utmost isolation from the real makers.
It is this disconnection that enables industries to thrive on mass production and promote inequity in social structures. Mass production entails a lot of wastage and exploitation. There is no going back to the days before the revolution, but we must work towards increasing the value of human labour. This can only be catalysed if consumers start buying more handmade products.
Buying handmade – more than just a purchase
When you buy handmade products directly from an artist or any other maker, you are contributing to a more sustainable world and it isn’t just the planet that benefits.
Anything made by a person contains an element of imagination and imperfection that makes what you own become one of a kind.
Here are a few of the benefits of buying handmade:
- They take less energy and thus more environmentally sustainable.
- Improves job market as it turns to employing more people.
- Quality of handmade is better and more wholesome.
- Small communities engaging in making their own goods thrive.
- Buyer gets to own something unique and less generic.
- They keep traditions alive.
So, choose to buy consciously. Make little swaps in your daily lifestyle. Think about how things you use are made, the wastage involved, and how long they will last.