Planned obsolescence, sustainability, development model ...

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to see a great documentary on TVE 2 (co-produced by Arte France , Spanish Television and Television of Catalonia, who should be congratulated for the social and educational use of the TV) on the ... 'History of Planned Obsolescence ', 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 video below program progress (4') that TVE own offered ... Buy Conspiracy. Advance.


'Buy, pull, buy'. Advance


The full broadcast of the program (52 ') can be seen in this other video ... Buy Conspiracy. Pyramids of Waste (if desired, you can see the broken end in three videos) ...

Buy Conspiracy



In the present reorganization of our Company in 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 of 'VOI', sustainable development, diversity, self-management / self-learning, collective intelligence, ...), whose impact can be seen both at global and local, as 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 'Air Traffic Controllers' , creation and social sharing information and knowledge on YouTube , Wikipedia , Tweeter , etc..

To this list, you can incorporate this example of impact and social and educational commitment to television, with the documentary in question 'History of planned obsolescence' , for his contribution when trying to understand, adapt and act, at this time of change and reorganization mentioned.

Indeed, to try to understand one part unsustainability of the current development model (unlimited growth and unlimited consumption corresponding residues), and on the other the need to seek an alternative sustainable model, it is interesting to analyze and understand the concept and history of 'Planned Obsolescence' central argument of the documentary.

For 'programmed obsolescence' ('OP'), can understand the 'deliberate reduction in product life cycle, during the design and production process thereof, so that last less and, therefore, is consumed more by frequent and repeated 'purchases.

The 'OP' is the basis of our current consumer society or the 'Growth', whose logic 'does not grow to meet the needs, but growth for growth. Grow indefinitely with unlimited production, for consumption must grow without limit. 'How unlimited consumption is achieved?' Seducing the consumer to want to own something a little new, a little better, and just before than necessary ' . And how he seduces as Serge Latouche, professor of economics at the University Paris-XI by? 'Three key elements:. 1 - Advertising, 2 - Planned Obsolescence, and 3 - the Credit..'.

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

It is worth noting two recent examples of 'OP' mentioned in the documentary, as shown in turn for '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 U.S., 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 repairs Apple battery, "you had to change the whole system '.

The second instance occurs in Barcelona. Marcos one day check that your printer is not working, the leads to different technical services and solution offered is that it is not worth repairing, better buy a new one. Not satisfied with the answer, and convinced that it can be repaired, consult the manual, 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 led to date, so that when the stop set is reached, the printer stops working. Through internet, identifies that there is a software which resets said counter. Contacted the Russian developer of SW, the download, the counter is reset and the printer starts working again.

For critical to the Company's growth, or wastage ('Use and Throw'), and defenders of the 'Theory of Economic degrowth', 'not enough to reform production processes, but must rethink the economy and our values ​​( paradigm change, cultural change) ', proposing an economic downturn to permanently abandon the' Company Growth ', warn that because the logic of' unlimited growth 'is not sustainable in the long run because it is based on a contradiction ...

"Whoever believes that limited growth is compatible with a limited planet, or this madman or an economist. The drama is that all economists are now "( 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 'to allow for the' 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 sample of current concern and commitment towards social and environmental factor, by the engineers, when practice as professionals and citizens .

'History of Planned Obsolescence third'

'History of Planned Obsolescence 2/3'

'History of Planned Obsolescence 3/3'


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