On this week’s episode of What the Fix, Dr. Emily West gets us inside the mind of Amazon to better understand how corporations are working to turn us into passive consumers.
At its core, the right to repair is a struggle with corporations over how we interact with products they sell. This week, Dr. Emily West offers Amazon as a case study to help us understand how companies are able to constrain our choices as consumers under the guise of convenience. We see many of the same tactics used to restrict repair like market consolidation and locked software ecosystems play out across industries from consumer electronics to agriculture. Emily and Jack discuss how Amazon’s business practices and branding are helping it eat up market share across every corner of the global economy, which is making it harder for us to escape the company’s influence. (Fight to Repair)
Apparently Apple doesn’t believe that self-repair should be something for everyone. Cook, speaking to popular science magazine Popular Mechanics, emphasized that when you think of the SSRP, you think of “hobbyists and hobbyists”. He doesn’t know how many people would accept this “offer” to repair it themselves. “So that’s very clear to your readers,” Cook said. Basically, Apple wants to ensure that devices last as long as possible. “That’s sort of job number one.”
Cook also sees the SSRP in connection with another offer for independent garages. As part of the “Independent Repair Provider Program“, they have been able to order and install original spare parts since 2019. However, the IRPP is not really attractive because, according to critics, Apple has imposed strict conditions that company owners cannot actually agree to. For example, Apple can carry out inspections at any time and check workshops for “prohibited products”. This includes non-Apple replacement parts. Customers must also be informed that Apple’s independent repairer is not licensed, in what those affected have called “advertising themselves”. (Voonze)
Proponents say an open-source farm equipment ecosystem is key to a future of more innovative, repairable, and environmentally adapted tools.
While there are pockets of interest, the open-source paradigm has yet to gain the traction that many of its supporters believe it deserves, still adopted by only a very marginal slice of the U.S. farm equipment industry and small-scale producers. As climate change and supply chain issues disrupt global agricultural systems, while farmers demand more autonomy over their equipment, its proponents are hopeful that open-source technology will gain more steam.
But it’s not just diversified, small farms that may benefit from dexterous equipment that can nimbly navigate between rows. This equipment is also potentially key to helping farmers improve the health of their soil in the face of climate change—to sequester more carbon, while holding water for longer during droughts and absorbing it during storms—which generally involves disturbing the soil as little as possible.
Open-source technology can be designed to move gently over the soil, a contrast to most U.S. farm equipment built with “more brutal force, heavier steel, larger tires” than necessary, as Algiere explains. Plus, farmers can swap out a diesel engine for an electric one—which, if they tinker with it enough, could also cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. (Civil Eats)
“The Auto Care Association proudly supports the right to repair referendum introduced in Maine by independent auto repair shops,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “As we await a decision on the Massachusetts right to repair lawsuit and concurrently pursue federal legislation through the REPAIR Act, we applaud the citizens’ initiative for bringing more visibility to the need to secure the consumers’ right to choose where they get their vehicles maintained and repaired. Momentum is increasing and it’s clear that consumers and our industry will not be satisfied until these basic rights are granted.” (Auto Care Association)