I understand your point; however, it still maks repair v. replace less easy an option to decide. I also wonder just how 'cheap' those eastern workers really are these days - Japanese firms making stuff in China doesn't speak of a status quo that's going to remain very steady for very long...
Today, Nissan announced they're opening a new car line in northern England, producing a brand new model. Seems the UK now has the most efficient car production line in the world, up in Sunderland. Flux, flux and flux. Reminds me of the 50s/60s when England had lots of car manufacturers and slowly lost the lot, bar Jaguar, Rolls and Bentley, along with a few maveric sports car makers who came and went and broke lots of hearts on the way. Rotten design and build, suicidal workers and defeated managements. Like all such empires, they died from within. UK Ford and Vauxhall/Opel (GM) survived because of massive US transfusions and resources. US domestic history almost mirrors it, and would, were it not for bail-outs of proportions so massive to be almost beyond belief.
Perhaps it's something that's inevitable: we consume on credit, most of the time, and can't really afford all this junk. I suppose it's all a gigantic Ponzi at heart, a swirl of illusion that drives appetites and glosses over the realities underlying the entire system. But what's the alternative? The Dark Ages.