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Over my past 40 years or so, I've paid a lot of attention to how things were put together. While it's true that some new materials and processes have been developed that can be useful if properly applied, in general, the quality of just about everything has been on a steady downhill slide. For the most part, if it goes together quick, it will also fall apart quick. If it's cheaper, yes it's cheaper. I'm also noticing a lack of pride in the service industry (our "new" economy), people doing a poor job of installing our junk. (At one time, we made "goods". Anyone remember that?)

Today, the word "quality" has two meanings:

Quality of performance. You could say that a TV set with a nice sharp picture has a quality picture.

Quality of manufacture. If a TV set is built using well-made parts and proper design, along with careful assembly, it will give many years of reliable service.

With any product, you can end up with one, both, or none of the above. Your new TV could have a great picture, but fall apart in six months. Or it could have a lousy picture, but keep working for 20 years. If you're really, really lucky, it will have a great picture, and last for 20 years. If it is lemon-yellow, it'll have a lousy picture, and fall apart in six months! So that should clarify the two kinds of quality.

Oh, I forgot, there's a third kind of quality, "initial quality". I guess that means the doors won't fall off of your new car, until after you've had it for a few weeks.

It's true that the quality of performance of many things, especially electronics, has increased over the years. And in many cases, such as the TV's I was talking about, the reliability has improved a lot too. All while the prices actually have came down.

But there's a limit to how much the prices can come down, and still have a decent product. What often happens, due to competition, is that every penny gets squeezed out the product, until it is no longer profitable to make, or it simply don't work anymore. Then we have to come up with something new.

Some examples can be studied by clicking on the <learn more> links below:

>High-pressure sodium lamps. Once great, but now...?
<learn more>

>Building materials. Compressed sawdust homes for only $500,000 <coming soon>

>The leaning fiberglass streetlight poles of Ashwaubenon
<learn more>