José Antonio Giménez: The real difference between umbrellas and cars
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José Antonio Giménez: The real difference between umbrellas and cars

José Antonio Giménez: The real difference between umbrellas and cars

Anyone would say that at first glance an umbrella is quite different from a car, whether for the shape, the function or the price, and for other reasons which are rarely taken into account but are really important for nowadays economy.

A good example is that anyone can buy an umbrella without buying other products. Nevertheless, this maxim cannot be applied to a car. Apart from petrol and oil, it requires streets and roads. Otherwise it would be useless.

That is the reason why I dare say that the modest umbrella is an autonomous product that valuable for the user, independent from any other product, whereas the car is a dependent product. As Alvin Toffler reminds us in Powershift, this also happens with the beard trimmer, TV and even with a hanger, which needs a clothes hook or a rail to hang it. These products that are just a link in a bigger system of products are what Toffler calls ‘systematic’.

In my opinion, to choose between conceiving autonomous or systematic is, in essence, the same choice one can make when deciding wether to develop a recyclable product made with recycled materials and sustainable or to develop an other that has a greater environmental impact.

And that is what this book has been made of: of personal decisions and approaches. The second volume of the Hiatus collection contains twenty texts that talk about the personal decisions of its authors, some of them closer to the umbrella conception rather than to the car one, others are seeking alternative paths that may redefine eco-design and social design, but all of them after involve a reflective process, deeper than an anecdote.

This collection was born in order to reflect without the immediacy and swiftness of the information society, or, at least, compile in black and white some ideas and opinions which worth some minutes of our life. I hope we achieve some of our aims. More at Articulado and