The Third Place: Second-Hand and Antique Stores

An interesting trend has been emerging in these United States since the early 2010s. Granted, this trend that I am about to discuss does exist in other Western countries, but nowhere as prevalent as it is in the US. In essence, there has been a growing popularization of shopping at “Second-Hand Stores”–what we might otherwise call ‘Thrift Stores’–among younger and well-to-do customers. No longer is there a stigma about buying what older generations would have perceived as being intended for those who cannot afford clothing from regular apparel stores. Today, Second-Hand Stores are seen by some young people to buy clothes at a lower Price.

In the earlier 20th century, the State of Total Mobilization made its way to the production of everyday clothing. Garment manufacturers realized that they could create larger amounts of clothing and sell them at lower Prices than what was previously possible in the last century. Fashion designers also discovered that because of some newfound production methods, they can establish “fashion trends” in keeping with the seasons of a full year or the years of an entire decade. The result has led to the proliferation of clothing designs and labels whose appearance immediately conjure images of the historical circumstances in which they were made. Unfortunately, the consequence is that because people are forced to keep up with the latest trends, a lot of old, quality clothes have been at risk of ending up at landfills.

For younger generations, namely the “Millennials” and “Generation Z,” shopping for clothes at Second-Hand Store means more than just getting a better bargain. Part of their motivation is related to concerns about the appalling working conditions that occur in the production process of everyday clothing labels in developing countries, the rest being concerns over the environmental impact of letting good clothing go to waste. While these are understandable considerations, one has to wonder about the implications of Second-Hand Stores becoming places to get rid of clothes instead of donating them to others who genuinely need them. It suggests that in Production for Profit as well as Production for Utility, Second-Hand Stores fulfill a niche role of Kapital Accumulation beyond that of a charitable act. If Second-Hand Stores do not ‘incentivize’ people from buying outdated apparel and selling them at a markup on eCommerce websites in the World Wide Web (WWW), then the new reputation implies important questions about what Totality should be doing with things that they no longer need or want.  

What is the significance of the Second-Hand Store in relation to the State of Total Mobilization?  Normally, when people think of Second-Hand Stores, they often tend to think of stores selling clothes donated from their previous owners. The usage of the term in this Entry, however, will include similar establishments like vehicle scrapyards, surplus military stores, and pawn shops. The term will also be contrasted with the “Antique Store,” which sells rarer and more expensive items that had once been owned by others. Compared to Second-Hand Stores, one is bound to find things which are more likely to be irreplaceable and priceless valuables. Even though anything can be reproduced in the State of Total Mobilization, Authenticity is what distinguishes something from any mere facsimile.     

But based on the economic activities of most Second-Hand Stores, which continue to be predominantly based around the resale of old clothing regardless of this Author’s intentions, another important issue needs to be addressed in relation to this topic. Although it is true that Second-Hand Stores can provide affordable clothes to those in need, I cannot help but ask whether the garments manufacturers themselves should be striving to fulfill that need. The ability to produce good quality apparel at an affordable Price under the Work-Standard will be appreciated in Value from the creation of Actual Arbeit in the production process itself. It is possible that, in doing so, there would be fewer Intents for fashion designers to create so many fashion trends and creating unwanted waste in the form of an excessive Attrition Rate. And as with any other facet of economic life, minimizing the Attrition Rate will ensure that the Quality of Arbeit remains high since garments manufacturers are expected to gain less from generating Actual Geld.

Reworking the Specifications of both Stores

The next question that needs to be entertained here is whether Second-Hand Stores and Antique Stores could be repurposed and reworked as part of the Work-Standard’s Production for Dasein. Rather than have Second-Hand Stores be solely devoted for reselling old items, it may be worth considering whether such venues could be integrated into a collection drive for unwanted or unneeded items whose Value will be far more appreciated as raw materials, as Equipmentalities. There is nothing wrong about the Actual Arbeit that comes from scrapping an unwanted item and turning it into something else. The Equipmentalities alone will be well worth the trouble insofar as the returns in Actual Geld will become much higher for the Kontore (Financial Offices). After all, one of the important of the Kontore under the Work-Standard is the creation (or recreation) and allocation (or reallocation) of Equipmentalities.

The implication of Second-Hand Stores becoming primarily devoted to collection drives will help the Antique Stores and all Enterprises that will require the Equipmentalities. For the Antique Stores, they will be in a much better position to assist the Totality in the preservation and restoration of valuables and heirlooms. Special arrangements can be made between Second-Hand Stores and Antique Stores to facilitate the transferring of anything deemed worthy of being resold. Moreover, it will provide the Enterprises involved and their respective Industries with additional ways of disposing waste while at the same time receiving the Equipmentalities that they need. And in Mission-Type Economic Planning (MTEP), the investors of Kontor’s “Office III” are the ones overseeing the Arbeit and Geld from Equipmentalities collected at the Second-Hand Stores.

For the Antique Stores in particular, the contributions of Actual Arbeit will be lower than the generations of Actual Geld from transactional sales. This should be obvious, seeing how the bulk of their economic activities is from selling valuables and heirlooms to interested customers. The Antique Stores themselves are not going to be creating new sources of wealth inasmuch as they provide new Intents for certain Small Businesses within different Industries to create Arbeit from the preservation and restoration services required by Antique Stores. And even then, it will not be a constant stream of Arbeit because there will be contexts where some items might be in superior condition compared to others.  

Additional Roles of Kontor Office III

Similar to the State Commissariats of Wages and Prices, the eight Offices of each Kontor operate independently from the Economic Planners who are working alongside each Guild, Enterprise, and Consortium or Industrial Concern. Although the Economic Planners themselves interact with the Kontore on matters concerning their own Legal Duties, everyone who works at the Kontore are dealing more so with the financial instruments and the financial technology aspects of the Work-Standard. As of this Entry, we have just discussed three of them, those being the Fiefs, the Work-Plans and now the Equipmentalities. Office III oversees the Equipmentalities, “Office II” focuses on Work-Plans, and “Office I” presides over the Fiefs.

In addition to the Equipmentalities of raw materials harvested from natural resources and those which were recycled, a Kontor’s Office III will also be working with Antique Stores and Museums on what to do with other valuables and heirlooms. There may some items that are of historical importance and should therefore be preserved in an exhibit for future generations as opposed to be kept someplace on a shelf or inside a display case. There might be certain things which are better off being resold to collectors who might have their own ideas beyond keeping said valuables as an interior decoration or conversation piece. But at the same time, there are others which deserve to be reproduced and made more accessible such as out of print books or obscure digital media.

It is in the context of the latter that Office III receives a different purpose beyond that of handling Equipmentalities, be they raw materials harvested from natural resources or recycled from existing items. Another area of interest for Office III concerns reproduction of antique items, especially those which were mass-produced at one point but are now considered rare due to no longer being in production or the original manufacturer has already ceased to exist. In either case, what are the arrangements for discontinued items to be brought back into production by others other than their original manufacturer? Would these be done by Small Businesses or by larger, more established State Enterprises? And under the Reciprocal Theory of Value (RTV) and the Work Theory of Money (WTM), will reproductions depreciate or appreciate the actual Value of the originals, especially those which are more ornate, decorative and unique than their reproduced counterparts?

Categories: Third Place

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