This is the story of companies who engineered their products to fail.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator (English version) (voice)
Marcos López Merayo ...
Himself (as Marcos López)
Lynn Owens ...
Himself
Richard Jones ...
Himself
Steve Bunn ...
Himself
Markus Krajewski ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Helmut Höge ...
Himself
Warner Philips ...
Himself
Nicols Fox ...
Herself
Mike Gurman ...
Himself
Giles Slade ...
Himself
Dorothea Weitzner ...
Herself
Brooks Stevens ...
Himself (archive footage)
Kipp Stevens ...
Himself
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Storyline

Once upon a time..... products were made to last. Then, at the beginning of the 1920s, a group of businessmen were struck by the following insight: 'A product that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business' (1928). Thus Planned Obsolescence was born. Shortly after, the first worldwide cartel was set up expressly to reduce the life span of the incandescent light bulb, a symbol for innovation and bright new ideas, and the first official victim of Planned Obsolescence. During the 1950s, with the birth of the consumer society, the concept took on a whole new meaning, as explained by flamboyant designer Brooks Stevens: 'Planned Obsolescence, the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary...'. The growth society flourished, everybody had everything, the waste was piling up (preferably far away in illegal dumps in the Third World) - until consumers started rebelling... Can the modern growth society survive without Planned Obsolescence? Did ... Written by Cosima Dannoritzer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The untold story of planned obsolescence.

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

16 December 2010 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

A Conspiração da Lâmpada  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2011) (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Connections

Features Death of a Salesman (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant program, should be watched by everyone
2 June 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The program concentrates NOT on the Phoebus Cartel (as stated in an earlier review), but on the story behind "Planned Obsolescence" and how it has affected consumerism and innovation in modern times.

The title "The light bulb conspiracy" relates to the FIRST known case of planning to make something worse (than they currently were) in order to sell more and make higher profits, and the global conspiracy behind it. However this is only one small part of the story.

By creating a world-wide MAXIMUM limit of 1000 hours (not minimum as stated in an earlier review {reading this Peter}) on the life of incandescent globes (when they were making 2500 hour globes at that time) they stifled all innovation in that field. (They had FINES for companies whose bulbs lasted longer than 1050 hours, and the more they exceeded this by, the higher the fine)

But Planned Obsolescence was not just limited to Light Bulbs, but to nearly every consumer item manufactured in the western world (and the EASTERN world as well, as so many western companies have their products manufactured in Asia), and has done so until very recent times. Even today obsolescence is achieved, not through planned failure, but through innovation. (Who wants to own and use a Mobile phone that ONLY makes calls and sends text messages, when a newer phone also lets you take photos, surf the internet, play games, etc?) But where does all the OLD, USED, and BROKEN equipment go? Watch the documentary, and you'll see just how irresponsible some companies are with their cast-off equipment.

I liked the story enough to recommend it to my lecturer on ICT Sustainability for my current IT course. He's looking to include it in future classes.


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