Planned obsolescence, sustainability, development model ...

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to see a magnificent documentary TVE 2 (co-produced by Arte France , Spanish Television and Television of Catalonia, who should be congratulated for social and educational use of the TV) on ... 'History Obsolescence of Scheduled ', or what is the same,' deliberately reducing the life of a product to increase its consumption. "A magnificent synthesis of the documentary is featured on the following video program progress (4 ') that own TVE offered ... Buy Conspiracy. Avance.


'Shop Conspiracy'. Advance


The complete broadcast of the program (52 ') can be seen in this other video ... Buy Conspiracy. Pyramids of Waste (if desired, can be seen at the end decomposed into three videos) ...

Buying Conspiracy



In the present reorganization of our Company RED (characterized by globalization, interdependence, migration, climate change, economic crisis, increasing activity 'online', developing digital technologies, ...), new values ​​and behaviors (digital culture ) are emerging and spreading widely (transparency, consistency, social and environmental factor, collaboration / sharing, the intangible value 'VOI' sustainable development, diversity, self-management / self-learning, collective intelligence, ...), whose impact is manifested both at global and local regulations, eg the status of ' GM Soy in Paraguay ',' Wikileaks 'recent discussion of the so-called' Sinde Law 'in the Spanish Senate and the problem of the 'Air Traffic Controllers' , creation and social sharing information and knowledge on YouTube , Wikipedia , Tweeter , etc.

To this list, you can incorporate the present exemplary impact and social and educational commitment of television, the documentary before us 'History of Obsolescence Scheduled' , for his contribution when trying to understand, adapt and act, at this time of change and reorganization mentioned.

Indeed, to try to understand some unsustainability of the current development model (unlimited growth with corresponding unlimited consumption and waste), and secondly the need to find sustainable alternative model, it is interesting to analyze and understand the concept and history 'Obsolescence Scheduled' central argument of the documentary.

By 'planned obsolescence' ('OP'), can understand the 'deliberate reduction in product life cycle, during the design and production process thereof, in order that lasts less and therefore consumed more by frequent and repeated 'purchases.

The 'OP' is the basis of our current Consumer Society or 'growth', whose logic 'is not to grow to meet the needs, but growth for growth. Grow indefinitely with unlimited production, for which consumption should grow indefinitely. "And how unlimited consumption is achieved? 'Seducing the consumer to want to own something a little newer, a little better, and a little before than necessary ' . And you know how to seduce ?, as Serge Latouche, professor of economics at the University Paris-XI by 'three fundamental elements: 1. Advertising, Planned Obsolescence 2. and 3. Credit'.

As the end of the chain, 'OP' causes a continuous flow of 'waste' that just mainly in the Third World (the example of Ghana shown in the documentary as a recipient of 'e-waste', that 80% can not be repaired and end up being dumped in landfills, which destroy the environment).

It is worth noting two recent examples of 'OP' mentioned in the documentary, as shown in turn 'OP' and a new type of consumer, and activism in the Internet age. The first corresponds to a class action lawsuit against 'Apple' in the US, which occurred in December 2003, following the action taken by the Neistat brothers (see video) against Apple, after buying an iPod, break the battery at 18 months and not allow Apple to repair the battery, 'you had to change the whole apparatus'.

The second instance occurs in Barcelona. Mark one day check that your printer is not working, leads to different technical services and solution offered is that not worth repairing, better to buy a new one. Not satisfied with the response, and convinced that it can be repaired, see the manuals, and discover that the 'life' of the printer is set in advance by the manufacturer by a chip, which counts the number of impressions that have taken up date, so that when the established ceiling is reached, the printer stops working. Through the Internet, identifies that there is a software which resets said counter. Contacted the Russian developer SW, discharges, the counter is reset and the printer starts working again.

For critical to the Company's growth, or Wasteful ('throwaway'), and defenders of the 'Theory of Economic degrowth', 'not enough to reform the production process, but should rethink the economy and our values ​​( paradigm change, cultural change) ', proposing an economic slowdown to abandon the' Company Growth ', then warn that the logic of' unlimited growth 'is not sustainable in the long term because it is based on a contradiction ...

"Whoever believes that limited growth supports a limited planet, or this madman or an economist. The tragedy is that we are all economists "( Serge Latouche )

Finally, and as a university professor, I can not help but continue to reflect, to assume my responsibility and desire to act when explicitly in the documentary mentions that 'for there to' OP ', it has been necessary for engineers and asumiesen designers, and assume the logic of 'unlimited growth'. In this regard I am pleased to quote the blog of Engineering and sustainability for the S XXI , as a sign of concern and current compromise regarding social and environmental factor, by the engineers, when exercising as professionals and citizens .

'History of Planned Obsolescence 1/3'

'History of Planned Obsolescence 2/3'

'History of Planned Obsolescence 3/3'


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