Gone Tomorrow

by ran

Gone Tomorrow

Roger illuminates the history of waste in New York City since eighteenth century, particularly relating it to the history of industrialization and capitalism. It was an interesting reading that I could witness how waste is categorized by social norms and orders, which we have already talked a lot in the classroom, with concrete examples. Already in nineteenth century, “for the better classes, street waste was a breeding round for disease, a nuisance, and a symbol of social decay.” (Roger, 41) Roger successfully shows how waste becomes a field of class oppression, stigmatizing the lower class and slums.

In addition, Roger delves into the way in which today’s waste becomes waste. I will simplify the mechanism of considering massive stuffs garbage.

Industrialization (Capitalism)

1. Efficiency
2. Consumption (commodity fetish)
3. Social institutions that support consumption and make “efficiency” social norm.

What was fascinating in this article for me was the time waste part. She claims that waste, in capital’s eyes, is lost labor time. It is an irony in today’s world – trying not to lose something immaterial thing – time – produces massive material wastes.


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