The 'Repair Manifesto' with Rebuttal

This poster went around to a group of friends - as Do-Ming Lum said when he sent it, "preaching to the converted." I've worked - intermittently - for Repair Café, and like to break my own stuff too. See below the poster for an eye-opening response.

'Repair Manifesto' detailing how repair is good, and a right

My friend Paul (who has also worked for Repair Café) responded:

"I love that poster, but I'm going to play devil's advocate here 'cause that's what I do.

"Many of the things we might repair for ourselves may be dangerous to us and/or others if the repairs aren't properly done. That's always been the case, but it's more so now that cars have drive-by-wire and computer-controlled ignitions in place of mechanical linkages and carburetors. As for portable electronic gear: mishandled rechargeable lithium batteries - not to mention some of the cheap after-market ones that are faulty straight from the factory - are especially dangerous, and often spectacularly so.

"Also, I would argue that the right-to-repair movement is being far too specific in its approach and is fighting the symptom rather than the disease. The bullets-whizzing front of this war needs to rest squarely on the doorstep of over-reaching and increasingly draconian 'intellectual property' laws bought and paid for by corporations whose fondest wish is to own ALL the marbles. The right and the information to repair the stuff we buy, and the right to reverse-engineer and publish the results, would be inevitable outcomes of overhauling patent and copyright laws.

"Another facet of this discussion is consumerism. The population-at-large - the vast majority of whom have no interest in fixing their own stuff - have voted with their wallets. Fashion trumps durability and longevity. People want to stay up-to-date on the latest bits of shiny, and they want it cheap. To keep prices low while still maximizing profits, the manufacturers of all that shiny feel a need to cut costs. Their shareholders won't let them incur the frivolous expense of stocking and distributing repair parts, especially when that undermines sales of the next latest-and-greatest product. Manufacturers are addicted to ever-increasing profits and expanding war chests, so they live and die by the success of the next new release. The last thing they want is competition from their own earlier successes. It's easy to blame the manufacturers for this situation; but ALL of us are responsible, if only through our active participation in this Ponzi scheme we call 'the economy'.

"Please keep in mind that I say these things as someone who has voided more than his fair share of warranties. I've been taking stuff apart - and putting it back together with varying degrees of success - for over five decades. I support right-to-repair legislation. But along with rights come responsibilities. And if we really want what we say we want, we need to get down to root causes. Some of those causes are staring back at us from our own mirrors..."

-- Paul Taylor