By Victor Papanek
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Additional resources for Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change
Today we export the products and gadgets themselves. , at home. The designer-planner is responsible for nearly all of our products and tools and nearly all of our environmental mistakes. He is responsible either through bad design or by default: by having thrown away his responsible creative abilities, by 'not getting involved', or by 'muddling through'. Three diagrams will explain the lack of social engagement in design. If we equate the triangle with a design problem, we readily see that industry and its designers are concerned only with the tiny top portion, without addressing them- selves to the real needs.
They are pointed toward the realisation of human potentiality and ultimately contributory to that evolutionary break- through which will come when the walls of the containing triangle finally crash to earth. Thus the value of an item of knowledge, an entire discipline, or a deed of art can be placed upon a scale, and its measure also taken. Much as we have established a six-sided 'function complex' in order to evaluate design in the first chapter, we can now plug in the 'triad of limitations' and use it as a primary filter to establish the social value of the design act.
Even in a sophisticated, technologically advanced country like Germany, TV sets have selectors for thirteen different channels, even though only two channels are used. In our case this entire selection mechanism can safely be left out because we are working on a one-channel set. The eventual breakdown of the vacuum picture tube is speeded up through the use of on-off switches. We plan to broadcast educational material only, and the set will always be 'on'. Current drain is negligible with the use of transistors.
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