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It Takes a Free Market to Build a Toaster

It takes a lot of people to manufacture even the simplest products, so making a household appliance on your own shouldn’t be expected to be easy. It may even be impossible. That’s what the artist Thomas Thwaites is finding as he tries to make a toaster from scratch, traveling around the world to collect raw materials and refining his own petroleum for plastic moldings. Aware that he still won’t be able to accomplish his task without the help of modern appliances, like a microwave, Thwaites claims his experiment points to the “helplessness” of the modern consumer. At Reason Online, meanwhile, Radley Balko argues that our inability to make a toaster doesn’t mean we’re helpless at all, but rather that we’ve been liberated by free markets. (This is hardly a new argument; consider the pencil, and similar tales.) [%comments]