My Tractor Forum banner

C/I Owners and the Story of Stuff

1432 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  RichardP
..... Consider the number of these tractors that are 30 some years old and still running strong, many without fastidious maintenance. Those of us on this and other tractor sites understand the durability of the Case/Ingersoll and that is why we are delighted to acquire a 30-40 year old tractor and bring it back to top condition. Sadly this world has been consumed with the throwaway mentality and many manufacturers have fed this mindset by producing products that are guaranteed to die within a few short years and cannot be repaired. As a result most people looking for a tractor will walk right by a dingy looking Case and buy a shiny new big box store tractor. That's fabulous news for most of us because we can buy a good running Case for as little as $500 and know that with a little TLC it will be virtually as good as a $5000 new Ingersoll.

I stole this from another thread as it was a perfect lead in to a website that someone shared with me a few weeks back

Story of Stuff

Most of you may think that this should go off to the round table - off topic section; however, I placed it here as I find that the mind set of the people I have met (virtually of course) here is very much anti-stuff. In a way you all seem to have been living the anti-stuff lifestyle at least in some way for a while now - and better yet, the C/I product seems to be built against the "stuff" ethos as well.

Hope you enjoy. Comments, thoughts are welcome.
1 - 5 of 15 Posts
Well, I clicked on the link but it didn't mesmerize me enough to try to view it on my dial up connection. I'm not really into the "save the planet by living in a hut" crowd but my Scottish ancestry compels me live well AND save well.:sidelaugh
I can appreciate not wanting to watch that on dial-up.

The meat I got from it was that since about 1950 the economy - particularly North American has centered around consuming.

In order to keep the economy working we need to keep consuming, in order to keep that going the market came up with planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence.

C / I tractors go against the concept of planned obsolescence, in that they are designed, and built to last for almost ever - and still makes parts for the older models.

The fact that the company still offers parts that fit it seems all of what the made / make, offers the parts manuals for the older tractors for free, and seems to encourage groups like this one - and this group as well, goes against the concept of perceived obsolescence.

You don't need to live in a hut to save the planet - and actually that wasn't the point of my post. But I have a feeling that many of the people here do more for this blue and green ball we live on than some yuppie driving a hybrid (no offense meant to any resident hybrid driving yuppies).

Further, although I feel that CGT is correct and that a few people probably didn't take a look at the site, the responses still re-enforced the feeling I have that MTFers' (particularly of the C/I brand) have a tendency to not partake of consumerism just because - and it don't matter if this is a result of Scottish heritage, tree hugging, or just a desire to opt for high quality and make stuff last.

Again, this was just something that I saw that fit my image of the people I have read some of here and thought it was fitting to share.

Thank you.
See less See more
I agree that vary few things are made to last.We get bored with what we have and want something else,so we don't need to buy something of high quality because that cost to much....
Alot of people don't realize that things can be built to last.
Terry T

This is perfect!
Few things are made to last (planned obsolescence). And we get bored with things and want different things - why, because we are trained that way. Example from the site that might not resonate with you directly - but you may laugh at your wife - is womens shoes - the reason that style of womens shoes changes every year - so they have to buy new ones to be in fashion. No other reason than that, society is set up so that women will feel self conscious if they aren't wearing the "in-look" for that season - and in look for the same season, year after year changes. This subtly forces people to by new items constantly - even though they already have a perfectly usable item in the closet (again this is perceived obsolescence).

I will also use computers as an example - I consider myself a power user in terms of pushing my systems to their limit, yet my laptop at work, or my main PC at home (which also acts as a server for the rest of the computers in the house - running wireless network for my wife's laptop a media pc, internet and print server) are more powerful than what I need 85% of the time. But I couldn't stay with the computer I had before this one - couldn't get parts anymore, and it was too slow to run WINXP/MS Office 2003 - and now 2003 and XP will go out of the support cycle, and I will be forced at that time to upgrade again - or face running a system that may be at risk. Why? Just because society has decided we need to keep consuming, and thus products are designed with a planned lifecycle.

Next item of interest is the real cost of items - but I will leave that for later.
See less See more

For a bunch of guys who live in Igloos you Canadians seem to be pretty perceptive about life south of the border.
Actually, this isn't a statement about just the US - both our economies work this way - granted the start was largely a result of the incredible efficiencies realized by the US industries during WWII, both countries are now dependent upon consuming - G.W.B. after 9/11 encouraged people to go out and shop - why? to keep the economic wheel rolling.

I think another part of the problem is that there aren't that many people who know how to fix anything anymore. Most of the older guys on this group whether they are farmers, mechanics, engineers or construction workers all have learned over the years how things work and how to fix them.
This could be a chicken and egg situation, most things built today can't be fixed by the end user - on purpose. And you are right even if they could be fixed by Joe Smo - he wouldn't know how, question, you learned how to figure things out, from who? I am willing to bet that the person who taught you, is the same person that wasn't around to teach alot of the next generation - (dad), he was away from home "on the road" in most cases for the generations that followed yours, and now the basic thinking and skill set he taught you is lost, I was lucky - and told my father last night, that since getting this tractor I am realizing how much I miss tinkering with things, growing up I used to tear stuff down to see how they worked - almost always got it back together again - now I get to get my hands dirty again - hence I like the idea of building a hydraulic drive offset mower.

Our education system is too focused on producing social workers and lawyers instead of people who can actually produce something productive. Most young people are pushed into going to college and come away with a degree in sociology or art history and then wonder why they have trouble finding a job. Meanwhile auto dealers in Chicago will pay $100,000 a year for a good auto mechanic. I know a young fellow who became a mechanic after high school, saved up some money and then went back to college, graduated and couldn't find a job making as much as a mechanic so now, surprise, he's back working as a mechanic.
Absolutely agree with this - I have a degree, and didn't use any of the book learning that came with it until 10 years after getting it, the piece of paper did get me a job; however, the "incidental skills" I picked up by accident while getting that piece of paper have been much more important to my career. I can also do plumbing, wiring, and have done much of the work on renovating a 112 year old home - that isn't something that most people my age can do - but probably more should be able to.

Companies won't sell a high end product if they can't ensure their customers will get competent service so they just produce things at a low enough price that people won't mind throwing it away when it stops working.
I agree with the first half of the statement; however, I disagree with the rationale, companies won't sell high end products because once you buy it, you don't need another - you stop contributing to the consumer cycle. Not because you can't get it serviced - look at your tractor - I think you would agree that it is a high end product, and you can service it yourself - no special tools, and for the most part using knowledge that most young men gained before graduating from high school (prior to the 1950's) - now that knowledge is worth how much?
auto dealers in Chicago will pay $100,000 a year for a good auto mechanic.
And worse yet, unless it has changed since when I left high school the young men (for the most part) who have the skill and ability and interest in the "manual" fields are looked down upon - resulting in the push for those advanced degrees - which are worthless in a lot of cases and make life very difficult for people in times like today. An organism, organization, or any structure that is to specialized can't adapt easily to change.

Hopefully there will always be a few companies that buck the trend as Ingersoll does but I'm afraid they will always be a small niche player.
If only there was a way to encourage those companies - and give them market share?
See less See more
I think there will always be a place for an Ingersoll but until consumers get a little brighter they will not be mainstream. I continue to wonder at the things people will spend money on that have virtually no value.
Bart, Just so no one - most importantly you - think I am trying to start a pi$$ing match of drag anyone down, this thread is meant as a compliment to the members I have met here.

I take your responses as affirmation of my position - as they are not in opposition, I gather from comments mentioned that you may be a few years / decades older than me. Therefore I am not surprised that you have the skill set that you do, my position in this regard is that this skill set is not as common in young people (say my age and younger) as it was and this is partially deliberate, and partially as it is much more difficult to fix things than it was - ever try to fix a DVD player?

I hear it frequently that companies want things to self destruct so that they can sell more and I'm sure there are some who think that way but on a macro level I don't believe it enhances the standard of living or growth of the economy. If your car lasted longer then you could spend the money you would have spent on a car to purchase a boat or motorcycle or airplane or tractor.
I don't know (I have no proof), but I am willing to bet that most people wouldn't actually do that, they instead would save their money, or work less, I have no desire for a bike, boat, or airplane, and I already have my tractor. I bought a new washing machine a few weeks back, the sales lady even acknowledged the machines made in the last few years don't last more than ten years, while machines made 8 or more years ago will last much longer - why?

It doesn't enhance the productivity of society to keep making new copies of a product that breaks down. One of the big contributors to improved manufacturing productivity has been improved quality control. Years ago it was considered "normal" to have a certain percentage of parts that needed to be discarded or reworked but companies have finally figured out that the cumulative costs of this approach are quite high and now there is far less waste and, consequently, higher productivity.
You mentioned productivity - the idea that society and its role in the economy is meant to be productive I think is a flaw there. Once we all have our basic need met than what do we do? (Buy bikes, boats, and airplanes) that works for some, but not everyone, and I am willing to bet that we wouldn't keep everyone working, so instead items we need, are designed with a limited lifespan.

This shift in thinking would have happened far more quickly were it not for the union work rules that prevented companies from implementing many more advanced manufacturing techniques and, as we are now so painfully aware, have pushed the auto industry to the brink of collapse.
Yep, and going back up to my point above - what would all those people whos jobs are now redundant do? Worse still what would their contribution to the consumer cycle be? No job = no $ to buy stuff = no need to make stuff = no need to pay people to make stuff that isn't needed = no jobs for other people = less money in the cycle....... This is what is happening now in the US and to a lesser extent here.

For some products, such as computers, the technology is advancing so quickly and the manufacturing costs are dropping so there is little value in "maintaining" the older designs.
Actually this isn't quite correct, the true costs of manufactering computer products are often not passed on to the end consumer (you and me) instead the resources are extracted from developing areas where the residence are poorly compensated, they are then put together in another developing area -again where the workers are poorly compensated - you buy the machine - or if your savy only the parts you need to upgrade your present machine, and throw out or recycle the old parts - if recycled these are sent off to be "re-claimed" in places where people make pennies a day and are bashing the components apart with hammers, and working around heavy metals and other toxic substances wearing little more than rags.

And the funny thing is - you wouldn't need to upgrade your machine if the software maker would continue to support the software that you presently have - and that does anything that you really need.

Can you name 3 things that your computer today can do (that you need)that a computer you may have had 10 years ago (the year after WIN98 came out) with WIN 98 and Office 97 on it couldn't?

Again this is only a philisophical conversation for me - and if a mod wishes I can see moving to a more appropriate place - just tell me where that is?

Thank you.
See less See more
1 - 5 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.