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35 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Very nice documentary on consumerism and product lifespan

Author: nikola from Bulgaria
16 September 2011

Very nice Spanish/French documentary on consumerism and the history of 'Planned Obsolescence' - companies make products last less, so that customers will have to buy them again and again.

The documentary is very well done and strict in its point of view. I think it is nice that the movie is not from US, as US ones tend to show their opinions on solving the issue a bit too much. You don't need any specific knowledge to go with the movie.

Also it is very good that at some point the movie makes a comparison between western capitalist industry and eastern socialist industry during the cold war. It makes a huge point on what actually happened.

I totally recommend it to everyone.


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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant program, should be watched by everyone

Author: crashman_123 from Australia
2 June 2012

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 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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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A critique of consumer society and planned obsolescence

Author: Even Blindheim Børve from Trondheim, Norway
30 May 2013

As for being an informative and well made documentary, The Light Bulb Conspiracy suffers a bit from the choice the creators made when naming it something that includes the word conspiracy.

The documentary itself does not focus only on light bulbs, but exemplifies how manufacturers of products make products wear out faster, so that the demand in consumer society increases - making profit for their own company.

Other products that have been adjusted from being long-lasting to wear out within a given time or after a number of uses include printers (which is portrayed in an amusing way in the documentary) and nylon stockings. Products that could last long, are made short-lasting, to keep a high demand, thus keeping up high production.

A number of people who a critical to this way of thinking tells how they think production should be based around sustainability.

Anyone that has been annoyed by things that stop working for no good reason will find this documentary informative.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Amazing facts on what you already knew but never dared to ask

Author: OJT from Norway
19 May 2013

I love these kinds of documentaries! Those which tells you something new or tells you something you didn't know about something you've been suspecting or thinking, but get confirmed.

This brilliantly made documentary tells about a dark secret which had gone so far that we now accept it. But even worse. The whole concept of "things bing too expensive to fix, buy a new one" is a false. It's fake! Not so that it is produced to fail. No, it can last longer if you know how to do it! A printer is made for lasting 200.000 copies. Then it tells you it's life is over. It's just programmed to stop. You can download a program on your PC install it, to make your printer last another 200.000 copies.

Nasty business, you say! Well, it's in your house! See this, and get enlightened!

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: Deema A
30 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The idea for the movie is decent. The examples they are based on, however, just feel very weak.

It is VERY well known that a long-life incandescent light bulb produces worse light and wastes electricity and therefore a costumer will be worse off buying a long-life bulb due to paying more for electricity! As to whether there was an actual conspiracy, I don't know, but in the end the consumer benefited.

The printer example? I don't really buy it either since it looks like the printer company simply took the easy way out in dealing with this ink sponge problem which most consumers might not run into anyway, rather than "planned obsolescence". If people want to print a large amount of documents, aren't laser printers more economical anyway? And don't the printer companies make most of their profit from ink rather than the inkjet printers themselves? Perhaps a better example would of been the link of often programmed wasteful use of ink and high ink prices.

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5 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Interesting - but Short Lifespan products may have advantages too

Author: peter dublin from United States
22 May 2012

This film criticises the way manufacturers deliberately make short lasting products that continually have to be re-bought, increasing their profit.

A main focus is on how light bulbs were deliberately limited to 1000 hr lifespans in the Phoebus cartel arrangement between GE, Philips, Osram/Sylvania and others. A favorable comparison is made with long lasting Socialist Narva bulbs, during the cold war era.

This is a little too facile, kicking in open doors: The easy conclusion is that "Hey it's good to have Minimum lifespan standards"

Not true! Brightness and lifespan tend to be trade-offs. Ironically, USA minimum 1000 hr standard - from the Phoebus Cartel in the film - therefore still denies the use of short lasting bright bulbs. It is not Socialist Government standards that makes good life bulbs. Nor is it Capitalist Light Bulb Manufacturer cartels. It is Competition on the market - by helping new manufacturers and inventors (like mentioned Billinger, behind a long lasting bulb) launch their products, for people to choose.

All light bulb types have advantages, and energy saving and lifespan mandates compromise other advantages that light bulbs - or indeed other products mentioned in the film - may have.

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