The woolen coat, for example, which covers the day-labourer, as coarse and rough as it may appear, is the produce of the joint labour of a great multitude of workmen. The shepherd, the sorter of the wool, the wool-comber or carder, the dyer, the scribbler, the spinner, the weaver, the fuller, the dresser, with many others, must all join their different arts in order to complete even this homely production.
How many merchants and carriers, besides, must have been employed in transporting the materials from some of those workmen to others who often live in a very distant part of the country! . . . how many ship-builders, sailors, sail-makers, rope-makers, must have been employed in order to bring together the different drugs made use of by the dyer, which often come from the remotest corners of the world!
[I]f we examine, I say, all these things, and consider what a variety of labour is employed about each of them, we shall be sensible that without the assistance and co-operation of many thousands, the very meanest person in a civilized country could not be provided, even according to, what we very falsely imagine, the easy and simple manner in which he is commonly accommodated.
- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
Ever since I was as a kid, I used to hate trips to the thrift shop. Even now, trying to find a good deal is synonymous with tainting my mood for the rest of the day. Comically gigantic suits and oddly specific graphic shirts. Yellowed appliances and half-finished embroidery. Orphaned piles of obsolescence untouched even with the allure of criminally low prices. An estate sale has more dignity than the faux-landfill buffers run my morally questionable "Christian" organizations. The owner is merely six feet under, items left unassessed whether they are even worth the very space they occupy. Shopping at retail stores reveals the source of all this stuff. Everything is disposable and mass-market. "Consumer-grade" goods are now an arm of the consumption cycle instead of something accessible and inexpensive.
dadbust 04/27/2017 " am i the only one who thinks the 17th century trade is cool as fuck shit like valuable metals and silk had actual value and rarity today it just depends on if you have the money i should read little house on the prarie again"
Alright, maybe free market wasn't the right word. I suppose it's pre-industrial? Pre-globalism? Either way I adore the idea of commodities being pridefully, meticulously hand-built with the pricetag to match. One not artificially inflated by marketing and "brand recognition", but one solely dependent on its quality. I always think back to the edible gold flakes that adorn obscene cuts of meat and retina-molesting desserts. While we drive home to shit them out on the porcelain throne, Colombian miners poison themselves and their proximate communities with mercury to fulfill this perennial market demand. Because gold, like any other capital under capitalism, transforms into an anonymous commodity traded on a transnational scale. It's really something to have everything in the physical world be distilled down to a set of numbers, each as faceless and disposable as the next.
The ruthless consolidation and competition inherent to globalized trade means that the only market for well made, independently produced goods are white middle-class r*dditors, wholly ignorant or apathetic to the true conditions at which they were produced. Often times the products themselves are hopelessly opulent or uselessly obsolescent, mechanical watches being a good example. Now I'm not advocating for economic isolationism, although that's probably in our future after our grandchildren are finished shiving each other for tinned meat. But I think thrifting is a good reality check to how easily we regard belongings as transient and disposable, within this economic system that deems it neccessary.
Little House on the Prarie absolutely had an impact on me, the thorough descriptions of goods being created, carefully matintained, held in high regard to an almost religious earnestness.
"When Pa was at home the gun always lay across those two wooden hooks above the door. Pa had whittled the hooks out of a green stick with his knife, and had driven their straight ends deep into holes in the log. The hooked ends curved upward and held the gun securely."
My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet, there's just too much in my childhood to pin on one specific moment.
As babby's first fantasy RPG Skyrim is the one that made me go and buy some boots and make a pair of leather gloves. There's a definite charm to materials not made from petroleum in faceless third-world mills. Linen is fairly durable and very efficient at wicking sweat. Wool rarely needs cleaning and is a great insulator even when wet. With the addition of a few mods the local economies in the game feel like an pulsating, interconnected machine. Regular caravans ferrying items from city centers, shopkeepers offering region specific resources, and rare items being valued by their intrinsic or cultural value instead of some nebulous standard of microeconomics.
The clothing in skyrim is far from being practical in a gameplay sense but enchanting breathes a new dimension to low-hp high-damage playthroughs. Spells largely replace the utlity of frivolous inventory items like torches and I'm a bit ambivalent towards that decision. The spells in Morrowind were a much more convincing playstyle, while in Skyrim they're a bit of a sideshow to more practical one-handed and stealthy archer runs. Overall just a pain in the ass to juggle bookmarked abilities, just give me a torch.
Another gripe I have with Skyrim is the prevalence of otherwise rare and expensive armors. Ebony and Daedric armors were hard to come by in Morrowwind, giving it an inflated sense of value and rarity. At high levels in Skyrim, they're unreasonably common. Crafting said gear is expensive with a few leveling barriers, but it's readily available otherwise. I really wanted to have to look for that sort of gear. Getting gem and ore drops in Maplestory used to be a rush every time.
That Falkreath house is the most deadly... Bandits always at my door. Mud crabs keep befriending my gay bitch son and end up burrowing into my floorboard at night. A dragon always spawns there every 2 weeks. Finally, there is a fucking necromancer next door that sends over skeletal dicks to offer me fucking girl scout cookies, and if you deny ends up killing my chickens and cow...