|Pods for…er…Into the Future?|
|Topic||Profit Maximization ; Monopolistic Competition|
|News Story||If you've ever been involved in planning a funeral--or been to a few, for that matter - you know that, despite mortician's best sales efforts, all caskets pretty much look the same: they're boxy, and made of various types of wood or steel. So what happens if you need to buy a casket, but just don't like any of the models you see? You go into business and build them to suit your own aesthetic sensibilities!
So began the German company, Uono, after the owner discovered that one reason that coffins look so much alike is that many casket manufacturers have heavily invested in template-based wood and metal manufacturing, so the companies have strong incentives not to change coffin designs. What's more, these coffin manufacturers tend to have excess capacity in their production process, again contributing to the incentive to maintain the current production design.
Not Uono, the maker of oval-shaped coffins. Weighing only 44 pounds, these models are much lighter than regular coffins. What's more, they're designed to degrade, that is, "to become one with nature." The Cocoon, as it's called, is made of a natural resin that is designed to biodegrade after about 15 years. The lining is made from jute, so it will decompose as well. While you can request a silk lining for your coffin, Uono's owners want their product to be as eco-friendly as possible.
While these coffins are popular in Germany and other Western European countries, they have yet to find a distributor in the U.S. But someday soon, someone you know may be wrapped up in a cocoon, ready to transition into the next world.
|Source||Koerner, Brendan I. "That Final Resting Place, Reimagined." The New York Times.August 27, 2006.|
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