This essay will outline the argument behind why objects perceived to be valueless, are still very much worth something in today’s society. This will be outlined in a number of ways regarding things that have been stated within books read. The essay will consist of Background information given from making social lives, and the ideas and concepts used within that information. It will also outline why people perceive rubbish as valueless and also touch on the rising levels of rubbish and the relationship between affluence and perception of value. We will then go on to discuss the potential reasons given as to why rubbish may hold no value, and eventually end up with a conclusion taking all points into account.
Worthless is a term used to describe an object without worth or value, in essence this means that it is good for no use(1). The growth in prosperity and affluence within the UK and within western society and the introduction of consumerism creates a society that rests more and more on what you buy and what you wear as dictating who you are can be accredited to the luxury brands and items. A good example of something perceived as worthless would be when someone goes for a weekly shop within one of the big UK supermarkets. All big UK supermarkets provide carrier bags as well as packaging for items we buy. Due to the mindset of most of the population we see and hold no value in what an object comes wrapped, packaged or kept in, it is simply thrown aside in order to get the item. This is because the value associated with such objects is seen as minimal to none, to a point where we feel comfortable throwing it away as we deem it to simply be of too little worth to hold on to.
Within the UK recently there have been a number of businesses that have sprung up around the UK which focus on collecting these items deemed to have “no value” and adding value to these products. A good and well known example of this would be eBay, a company long known to help people empty their closets in order to find treasured items perceived as worthless and adding base value to it for other people to buy. eBay is also very well known for tackling the problem of tangled electronic waste supply chains. eBay offers services that range from aggressive electronics recycling to allowing users to mail unwanted iPhones or laptops to used packaging, equipment and even horse manure for our gardens(3). The other example of people that add value to worthless items other than recycling companies are artists, the example given within Revaluation and rubbish figure 6 of Chris Jordan’s Plastic Cups, 2008 depicts one million plastic cups which was calculated by Jordan to be used on airline flights in the USA every six hours (4) as stated in the textbook. Artists like Chris Jordan show objects considered to be worthless and use them to add value to their artwork, for instance if Chris’s artwork was to sell for £20,000 the value of those cups would be deemed at £20,000 therefore adding to the value of the items used. Both these examples show ways in which companies and people add economic value to objects and rubbish. This proves that objects are also always continually open to revaluation and devaluation, the fact that people are prepared throw away objects which were once deemed to have value is a clear example of a society that no longer struggles to survive. This is without a doubt due to rising affluence and wealth, a good example of a time when falling affluence affected objects is Germany in 1914. In Germany 1914 Germany was considered Europe’s most powerful economic and military power which was seconded only to the USA in the world, after four years of war however in 1918 Germany’s economy was in ruins, and later on in 1923 Germany printed excessive amounts of money in order to pay striking workers, the result was Hyperinflation resulting in the