Rubbish Has No Value. Identify the Arguments for and Against This View.

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In 1983/84, the average amount of household rubbish per person per year in England was 397 kilograms (Defra, 2007), in the following years, this increased and by 2006/07, this figure had grown by 28 percent to 508 kilograms. This trend has been explained by the growing affluence of the general person and their greater amount of disposable income, which is then being spent on luxury products. As a result, more and more waste is being generated each year; this essay will explore the arguments around whether this ever increasing amount of rubbish has any value. One line of reasoning is that rubbish does not have value, or at least has very little in relation to its starting value. This can be explained by examining Thompson’s Rubbish Theory (Thompson, cited in Brown, 2009, p.122). Thompson claimed that items are produced for mass consumption or for elite consumption; he named these categories Transient and Durable, respectively. In addition to this, he argued that a product may, over time, move from the transient category to durable. A good example of this is what are called Stevengraphs, created in the 1800’s. In 1870, one piece of work, known as ‘Dick Turpin’s ride to York in 1739’ sold for one shilling, by the twentieth century these works had become unsaleable. However, by the 1960’s and 70’s these works had increased in value and were selling for considerable sums as collectors pieces. Therefore, during the period between transient and durable, these pieces of art were classed as rubbish, with very little or no economic value, supporting the statement that rubbish has no value. However, it should be noted that whilst this item in particular did not have any economic value between the periods of it being considered transient and then durable, it may still have had intrinsic value to someone. For example, it may have sentimental value to the creator who spent many hours to complete it; it therefore does have value. Another argument is that due to ever changing...
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