More and more people buy a wide range of household goods like television, microwave oven and rice cooker. Do you think this is a positive or negative development?
As living standards have risen over the past few decades, people’s desire for consumer goods has increased accordingly. In many respects, the wider use of household goods such as microwaves, refrigerators and so on is an indication of a prosperous society. Nonetheless, there are some drawbacks to our dependence on household appliances.
As we are confronted with the threat of irreversible climate change, we should be seeking collective ways to reduce our carbon footprint, while also reducing exploitation of natural resources. Overuse of electrical goods at home is undoubtedly a contributing factor to environmental damage. Some governments across the world have taken measures to address this. France, for instance, charges different rates for electricity use on different days, in order to discourage people from using their washing machines or dishwashers too often. In addition to environmental drawbacks, household appliances have made us dependent on technology to perform tasks we once would have performed ourselves. Some regard this as a negative thing, as it encourages us to become complacent and lazy.
However, there can be no doubt that the wide presence of once luxury items in households across the developing world has contributed hugely to a better quality of life for millions of people. Women, particularly, have benefited from the introduction of household appliances to their dwellings, as it has freed them from the traditional chores of the housewife, enabling them to develop their own careers and escape the drudgery of hours of domestic maintenance.
On the whole, I think household appliances have had an unquestionably positive effect on human progress. Nonetheless, we should give serious consideration to developing measures to prevent overuse of domestic energy, in order to avert environmental calamity.