Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cheap Socks

Not very long ago, darning socks was a valuable personal skill.

Today, outside of the company of eccentrics who enjoy things like dressing up in period costumes and pretending for a mercifully short time that they don't live in the 21st century, finding someone who actually knows how to darn a sock is a challenge.

Why? Because socks used to be too expensive to throw away. Now, socks are so inexpensive, we would rather buy a new pair than spend time mending an old one.

Lost a sock in the wash? Don't despair. They're so cheap, you can buy another pair without regret. Only the curious, not the needy, spend time looking for a sock match at Lonely Socks.

What brought the human race to the point where socks with holes are disposable items, not precious clothing in constant need of repair? It wasn't the might of armies or the wealth of kings. It wasn't the will of history. It wasn't charity. It wasn't grand theories self-sacrifice and service to humanity.

One thing and one thing only made socks cheap enough to lose and throw away: self-interested business, trying to make a profit in the manufacture, distribution and retail of something as simple as a pair of socks.

One of mankind's greatest and least appreciated achievements is a profitable business, honestly run.

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