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The Lightbub Conspiracy [video]: 100yr of planned waste in all areas

history economics trends FixingTheFuture

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#1 Orpheus

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:10 PM

The Lightbulb Conspiracy was made quite a splash as a documentary when I came out a ew years ago. It has now made its way onto youtube. You may think that you know all about the scourge of planned obsolescence and its history (as I did) but it's valuable to see it all laid out in an organized fashion. It consolidates your thinking and examples for more effective thought/action.

Its 'relaxed' pace may not grab you immediately, but it gives you time to think as you watch.



We cannot allow this choice to continue.  Whatever your social or political stripe, it's simply evil. To a free market capitalist, these industry manipulations rob us of the benefits/advances a truly free market would produce. To an eco-green, this is a needless waste of Mother Earth's resources. I've seen and written more in-depth analyses showing how it has influenced our nation's social mores, ethical standards, political leanings and actions, and of course, economy.

It's our personal choice, and a still a fairly easy one to change == but that window may not last long.

#2 sierraleone

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:34 PM

Thank you for that :)

With your last line I thought there was going to be something about a law making planned-obsolescence mandatory. Or perhaps it is a reference to the fact that planned-obsolecence, essentially the way of many people's lives, will not be able to be continued indefinitely.

This, or rather related topics, has been among the things I have been thinking about lately. It touches on so many things in so many ways.

I feel like our economy is built on a pyramid scheme, always needing to produce more. They make it seem like a tragedy when profit is between zero and the last profit level at the"X" date. I've seen some people write that immigration is needed for country's reproducing below replacement rate to help the economy. Considering keeping profits at the same level is not considered good enough I don't think reproducing at replacement rate would be considered sufficient either. Yes, there are and will be problems, even big ones, with the population age distribution much of the first world countries have, but constantly growing the population  doesn't solve our problems either. On a finite planet, with finite resources, it just kicks the can down the road. And we are aggravating these problems with our consumer driven life style, which does nothing for our own health, much less anyone or anything else... other than the financial health of a few. Though it won't likely help their great grandchildren.

We can see this planned-obsolescence impacts on parts of our culture besides cloth and furniture and light bulbs. Business people are always going to find a way to exploit human weakness. Here it was to convince us that their inferior products, with planned-obsolescence built in, are desirable; they appeal to vanity and desire for possessions. Many want the coolest/newest/prettiest, or otherwise most fashionable thing, and the most of it possible. So if it falls apart you move on to another one, 'better' than the last. The food industry has done a lot of research into what human tastebuds fancy the most and it is not stuff that is good for us. And on top of that, with so many on a treadmill to keep up with the Joneses most people have no time to focus on things actually impactfull on their health, such as not eating so much convenience food (most of which, even the 'healthy' kind, are not good for us), much less reflect on all the other attendant problems this lifestyle causes.

Even cleaning products, like liquid soap, exploit our psychological "ick" factors and fear of germs/illness. Anti-bacteria soap is not needed in everyday use. And I've read that liquid soap isn't actual cleaner than using a used bar of soap. But everyone think it is, because a used soap bar looks "icky". When people use bar soap instead of liquid soap less soap tends to get use. And one doesn't need as much packaging either. One could throw disposable products into this too. I try to think of how gross and much bigger dumps are due to disposable products are when I use them now.

All of these seem to be issues that are more economical for the average person if they have things that last. Whether they have a quality chair, appliance, printer or lightbulb that will far outlast the average modern counter part, or whether they are using reusable products in place of disposable products. Considering the amount of chronic health conditions, created or exasperated by lifestyle, I am not sure the convenient, unhealthy food is cheaper idea holds either.... Of course, all of this assumes that people can afford either the cheap modern stuff planned-obsolescence, or more quality stuff made to last, and be repaired when needed. A lot of people can't really afford either. Some because they do not make smart choices with their money, and some because they don't have enough money.

Sometimes it is really interesting to read a bit of light psychology stuff. I read somewhere that we ACT on subconsciously made decisions before we consciously register them. I don't know if I am explaining it at all well :D But we can't weigh the pros and cons of the thousands of tiny decisions we make everyday. It would simply take too much time and we aren't 'programmed' like that anyways. Which is why it is so hard to make a change in one's lifestyle; our lifestyles are habits formed from a lifetime of subconscious decision making. You aren't just making a new decision or two, you are trying to undo old habits on a constantly basis.
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#3 Orpheus

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:38 PM

When I said I feared the window might not last long, I meant that the availability of genuinely durable/repairable alternatives is declining in many products, and will only be MORE actively curtailed by panicky industries in the near future.

I make, fix, and recycle more now than ever, and my life has steadily gotten easier (and cheaper). Alas a lot of that ease and opportunity comes from accumulating skills, which aren't as easy to get as Yet Another Line of Credit.

That's why I love hanging out with hackers/makers: they 'get it'; can back up that understanding by doing; and share their knowledge.

#4 sierraleone

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:37 AM

^ You are definitely right there. It is harder to find durable/repairable stuff, especially such things without computer chips. I used to work in customer service for a large retailer, and quite frequently a simple thing, like a oven timer or clock, would stop working. And the whole oven stopped working. Really? It was designed in such a way that an extra/unnecessary feature being compromised stopped all the necessary functions working? From my understanding there are people who would have been able to repair their own appliances in the past, when they were more solely mechanical in nature, who are unable to do so now with the increase of computer chips in everything. I believe it is the same way with cars too. So the number of skills/equipment needed to repair consumer products has likely increased.

Another thing I recall from my retailer experience is the warranty for many appliances and furniture is only one year. ONE year for a major purchase? It you are lucky two years (and/or perhaps a longer warranty on specific components). But, ah, of course, you can purchase an extended warranty/service agreement/protection plan in many cases. If I recall correctly the only thing to automatically have a long warranty was mattresses and box springs, they were typically 10 years.
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#5 Nonny

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

The lack of reparable stuff has been offending me for decades.  I can't watch the video.  I fear my head really will explode.
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