Terminology of Materialism

26.July 2012

New perspectives on materialism have generated lots of different words...

SLOW (Slow Food, Slow Cities, Slow Life...) is "seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything..." Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slow (2005).

LOCAL is about loyalty to nearby producers and appreciation to the specificity of each place:  its culture, style, ecosystem, "terroir". Local also suggests a physical base (and limit) for economics and ecologics ("bioregionalism") sustainably controlled by the people there rather than by distant forces.

DIRECT or "relational" is about transactions without middlemen, which insure that all of the profits stay with the producers themselves. It also enables conversations, learning, and solidarity between producers and consumers.

ARTISANAL means things made with care and skill or "integrity" (meaning that producers take pride in the quality of product, workmanship, labor and environmental practices, consumers take pride in paying a fair price, being reliable, and treating producers and products with respect, and middlemen (if there are any) facilitate connections at a fair cost rather than take advantage of producers). (Chris Anderson has proposed that certain high tech manufacturing also fits within this model)

SMALL BATCH is a bit more rigorous than artisanal because it quantifies and delimits the scale of production. See Jason Kottke.