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Prolonging Life: Appreciations of a Secondhand ‘Capital’ Machine


  • Keith Spiller

    (Open University Business School, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, England)


In this paper I look at a farm that diversified its business and within this process bought a secondhand sausage vacuum filler. I do this in order to question how this machine came to be understood and valued by the farmers who bought it. The themes discussed include the role of the machine in changing the working practices of the farm, as well as factors unknown when buying secondhand—purchasers can only ever truly know the reliability and levels of performance of the machine retrospectively. While much work has considered the secondhand cultures of goods such as clothes, brick-a-brac, or cars, the departure I make here is to consider goods bought and used in commercial contexts. I consider the calculations made when a secondhand commodity is invested with the risks and tensions of expanding a business. There are critical and additional pressures resting on the machine: for example, if the machine fails to work, it may be detrimental to the business. The paper focuses on the appreciations of two farmers and how the machine they bought was used and appreciated.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith Spiller, 2014. "Prolonging Life: Appreciations of a Secondhand ‘Capital’ Machine," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 46(12), pages 2848-2863, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envira:v:46:y:2014:i:12:p:2848-2863
    DOI: 10.1068/a130071p

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Jeffrey Shulman & Anne Coughlan, 2007. "Used goods, not used bads: Profitable secondary market sales for a durable goods channel," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 191-210, June.
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