Down the tube

David Cox (Letters, 25 September) suggests that the government should promise early switch-off to stop people buying television analogue systems now. The point is that, although the majority non-geek population has got what it wants with analogue, there's no way that this old stuff is going to make exponentially more money for the producers, so we've got to make the great sacrifice. This is similar to the "need" for GM food. The 30-odd world food plants developed over millennia are simply incapable of making ever-increasing profits for US-dominated agribusiness. So they are to be stripped out of the fields, and we must get used to something new.

This trick - superseding an adequate technology to keep the cash rolling in - is relatively recent. Victorian business went around identifying unsatisfied needs and desires, but we've reached a point where stick-in-the-muds have got to be kicked into throwing out and buying new.

No doubt, when digital systems have bedded down, they will suddenly be replaced with some new version, and we'll be back at the tips with our digital rubbish.

Robin Oakley-Hill
Sevenoaks, Kent

This article first appeared in the 02 October 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Nightmare on Downing Street