In his provocative essay, “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer,” Wendell Berry established nine good rules for why and when the latest and greatest technological innovations, gadgets, and gizmos can in good conscience be adopted:
1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.
Even if I do not entirely agree with each and every one of these rules, taken together, they should give adequate pause to all our high tech impulse buying.