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Student 2

Page history last edited by Katherine Pandora 3 years, 9 months ago

On Getting By Without Money (pg. 186)


Becka Nguyen




     In order to prep for the creation of this page, I examined the World Earth Catalogs (WEC) to gain knowledge about the way that information was delivered during the 1970s.  During this time period, the WEC was utilized to deliver a wide range of information to its readers that could potentially help them solve many of their problems. The catalogs also contained several advertisements for tools, machines, foods, toys, and clothing. These catalogs helped its readers expand their knowledge of the outside world as well as kept them updated on the latest trends and technology. They can even be compared to the modern internet of today and how people utilize the internet to learn about new information.

     The readers of these catalogs often had open-mindsets and a natural curiosity to learn more about the world around them. They were concerned about new innovations in the world and how these changes would affect their lives. Furthermore, they were motivated to improve the conditions of their own lives and utilized the WEC to learn about small lifestyle changes such as new recipes or efficient ways to save money. For the most part, these individuals had a balanced attitude about life in the 1970s and the WEC helped maintain these attitudes. These catalogs offered them new information and advertised products that could be ordered which helped improve their lifestyles. 

     Through the WEC, I selected an article by Tom Duckworth who wrote about the art of conserving money in the 1970s. I thought it was important to note the methods in which many families used to save money during this time period. Furthermore, I wanted to compare these money-saving methods to those utilized by today's families. It appears that secondhand stores such as Goodwill and local flea markets were appropriate places to purchase cheap clothing during the 1970s. Today, there are still many individuals who rely on these stores and flea markets for cheap clothing. Opposite to today's standards, trading groceries and meats was a common way to save money on food. Even though food prices have increased significantly since the 1970s, there are federal programs available for lower income families to purchase food. The Food Stamps benefit was created to help families with special needs obtain enough food on a monthly basis. Finally, another popular method for cheap housing in the 1970s were transportation units known as campers. Of course, these campers have been replaced by the modern recreational vehicle of the 20th Century also known as the RV. It is fascinating to see the differences and similarities between the methods of saving money in the 1970s and the current time period. 

     As discussed by the Computer History Museum website, it was uncommon to view the early computers as a common household item. In fact, "before 1977, most computers were kits requiring technical know-how" (Computer History Museum). This meant that most families did not utilize computers because this type of technology required extensive additional knowledge. It was not until Apple successfully marketed their first version of the Apple II computer that families began changing their perspectives on computers. In their advertisements, Apple presented the computer as an important tool in securing the educations of children across the United States. From this point forward, the image of computers changed rapidly across the nation. 

     Even though the introduction of computers and creation of the internet has replaced the WEC, there are still several aspects of the WEC that cannot be replicated through this form of technology. Some of these aspects include the physical touch, selective quality, and narrative tone of the WEC. The catalogs were physical copies that provided its readers with new information that they can manually flip through. Furthermore, the editors of the WEC were selective about which information deserved a place inside of the catalogs. Finally, each article delivered a different narrative tone and attitude along with the information that was conveyed. All of these factors are aspects of the WEC that cannot be replicated by the modern computer of today. 

    It is also important to remember that even though the modern computers lacked certain features of the WEC, they were still remarkably more efficient at providing users with new information. Perhaps, WEC readers were able to smoothly transition from the catalogs to the early versions of the computer because of their open-mindset and natural curiosity for new information. These readers readily accepted the household computers as modern tools for learning that could help them run their lives more efficiently. They understand that the information that was delivered through the WEC could be more easily accessed through the computers. 




Excerpts from From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Steward Brand and On Getting By Without Money by Tom Duckworth

  • "Simply by picking it up and flipping through its seven sections, the reader could become an astronaut looking down from space on a textual representation of a new earth" (Turner 83). 
  • "The 1984 Apple Macintosh were explicitly marketed as devices one could use to tear down bureaucracies and achieve individual intellectual freedom" (Turner 103).
  • "Dissociation with the economic bag of any society is difficult unless you are very rich or a Trappist monk" (Duckworth 186).
  • "The stove in the camper came from a trash pile and I traded a window for the sink" (Duckworth 186). 




Becka Nguyen 



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