Due to the nearly unbreathable air in some of China’s cities, a handful of entrepreneurs decided to sell them bottled air. I fear capitalism might have jumped the shark.
As a result of developing the unbreathable air that hovers over the steel and class and neon coffinopolises of the Middle Kingdom, the Chinese have suffered something far more damaging: Unemployed westerners with nothing but a dream and a product that rolls the eyes and breeds headline type.
From the same cocksure universe as “selling ice to the Eskimos” comes the late-capitalism concept of selling air to the Chinese.
If there’s a greater metaphor for the toxicity of entrepreneurship, I don’t want to it inhale it. Because this is the darkest possible timeline, and things fall apart and I’m tired and cranky and need a hug from a partner I’ve shunned, bottling air and selling it to people seems absolutely fine.
Back in 2014, Two lads named Moses Lam and Troy Paquette authored this caustic movement. In a moment akin to Newton’s fruity brainwave, they were “…just sitting around thinking about things, and saw a bottle of water…we thought, ‘What if we do the same thing, except with air?’”
According to The Hustle, the pair then drove to the picturesque Banff National Park and after “flailing a plastic bag around, trying to catch the mountain breeze,” their ziplocked bag of air bagged them $130 on eBay. “We almost felt bad the guy paid that much money for a bag of air…but we also saw a business opportunity.”
From there, the pair flung themselves into the abyss, engineering an aluminium can with a nozzle, and a business, which promised to “enhance vitality one breath at a time.”
Each can of Vitality Air retails at $30 and garners you around 160 breaths, which equates at 20c a wheeze. Considering the average person breathes around 16 times a minute, it roughly equates to $2.30 a minute, $192 an hour, $4,608 a day and around $1,618,920 a calendar year. I mean, if you want to do it properly. Below is their advertisement. Not satire.
All I need is the air that I breathe, and to be pppaaaiiiiidd.
Disappointingly, we’re also to blame, as one Blue Mountains resident has got in on the market. John Dickinson was shocked by his trip to China, a man who recognised the ills of the world and did something about it. Upon wondering how people can live like this, he decided to altruistically help them out. He will give the export fine Australian air to the struggling Chinese, but you know, for a price. $72 for a twelve can bundle.
Could be worse. Hailing from Somerset is a man who nicknamed himself as ‘the Louis Vitton of air’. Leo De Watts, a self-proclaimed ‘air-farmer’ harvests the atmosphere of his hometown, before trundling off to China to flog his wares in a mason jar.
Again, not satire.
When asked by The Hustle about the potential ethical problems of cashing in on pollution, De Watts stated that he’s actually doing it to raise awareness of global pollution by creating a product that brings attention to it: “We are all goldfish living in a murky tank, and we are over-feeding ourselves when it comes to energy creation and product production…you can treat the symptoms, but I want to stop the over-feeding.”
Stop the capitalism, I want to get off.