I recently read 'Design for the Real World' by Victor Papanek. This book, written in 1985, seems so relevant to todays world that I really can't believe it is 25 years old. The book emphasis the need for products which serve a function, and discusses the fact that many design schools encourage students to create pointless products (such as budgie nappies) that serve no function in the real world. The book encourages designers to work towards creating better, more useful products, and also to think about society as a whole, instead of just designing for the affluent.
With this in mind, I was slightly shocked when I stumbled upon an advert for www.iwantoneofthose.com especially as the tag line is "stuff you don't need....but you really really want."
If we don't NEED these products, then what is the point in using resources to make them? A quick browse around the website revealed 'amazing' products such as inflatable hair-dos, tatoo sleeves (yeah sleeves you put on that make it look like you have tatoos all over your arms) and a golden 'my last rolo'. hmmmmmm.
I'd recommend 'Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change' by Victor Papanek to anyone who wants to spend money on something worthwhile, useful and interesting!