If we look at quantity and quality as opposite, our current culture falls squarely on the extreme quantity end.
- We value ten crappy toys over one great toy.
- We value a high salary over a fulfilling job.
- We value cheap clothing that only lasts a few months over crafted clothes that last years.
- We value large flats full of stuff over small flats with only few items that we love.
- We value a never ending, opinionated news feed over few, well researched books.
- We value complex software with many features over focused software that does one thing really well.
- We value ten mediocre cakes at a party over two really awesome ones.
- We value a large social network over having any real friends.
I could go on like this for a long time, but I think I made my point. We value quantity over quality — everywhere. We need to change that, because this focus on quantity has two main drawbacks.
Firstly, quantity over everything means we produce more than we need, but need to replace it soon because is wasn’t made well. Ever growing seas of trash are the result. What if, instead of owning twenty sweaters, we own only four but those will last ten times as long? What if, instead of publishing every crappy story, our news media would research more and only publish what they know to be true? What if we wouldn’t buy so much, because we love every item that we have, and therefore need a smaller flat and a lower salary — freeing us to accept more fulfilling jobs, less working hours and improve our quality of life?
Secondly, if quantity is our goal, we will stress ourselves and each other out much more. When we try to create more more more, we can’t keep working at the same speed. We need to constantly accelerate. Imagine instead that quality is the goal and quantity is irrelevant. Now, we can live and work in a relaxed way and have time for retrospective thoughts, which will allow us to improve quality, so we can produce better goods and services, not more.
“Oh but the economy!” I head you say. “We need the growth.” Ok I give you growth: let’s create more more more … quality!