Planned obsolescence, sustainability, development model ...

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to see a magnificent 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 planned obsolescence ', or what is the same,' the deliberate reduction in the life of a product to increase its consumption. "A magnificent synthesis of documentary is featured on the following video of progress of the program (4 ') that TVE offered itself ... Buy, pull, buy. Advance.


"Buy, pull, buy." Advance


The full broadcast of the program (52 ') can be seen in another video ... Buy Conspiracy. Pyramids of waste (if desired, can be seen at the end decomposed into three videos) ...

Buy Conspiracy



In the present reorganization of our network society (characterized by globalization, interdependence, migration, climate change, economic crisis, increasing activity 'online' digital technology development, ...), new values ​​and behaviors (digital culture ) they are emerging and spreading widely (transparency, consistency, social and environmental factor, collaboration / sharing, intangible value 'VOI' sustainable development, diversity, self-management / self-learning, collective intelligence, ...), whose impact is manifested both at global and local, as eg the situation of ' transgenic soybean 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 to the television, the documentary at hand 'history of planned obsolescence' , for his contribution when it comes to trying to understand, adapt and act, at this time of change and reorganization mentioned.

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

By 'planned obsolescence' ('OP'), can understand the 'deliberate reduction of the 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 'growth', whose logic 'is not growing to meet the needs, but growth for growth. Grow indefinitely with a production without limits, so 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 earlier what is necessary ' . And you know how to seduce ?, by Serge Latouche, professor of economics at the University Paris-XI by 'three key elements: 1. advertising, planned obsolescence 2. and 3. Credit'.

As the end of the chain, 'OP' causes a continuous flow of 'waste' newly primarily in the Third World (the Ghana example shown in the documentary as a recipient of 'electronic waste', that 80% They 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, Battery break at 18 months and not allow Apple to repair the battery, 'you had to change the whole system. "

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

For critical to the Company's growth, or waste ('throwaway'), and defenders of the "Theory of Economic Decrease ',' not enough to reform production processes, but should rethink the economy and our values ​​( paradigm change, cultural change) ', proposing an economic slowdown to abandon the' Growth Company 'because 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 is compatible with 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 document mentions that 'for there to be' OP ', it has been necessary for engineers and asumiesen designers, and assume the logic of 'unlimited growth'. In this regard I am pleased to mention the blog Engineering and sustainability for the S XXI , as a sign of concern and ongoing commitment, with respect to social and environmental factor, by engineers, at the time of exercise as professionals and citizens .

'History of obsolescence 1/3'

'History of obsolescence 2/3'

'History of obsolescence 3/3'


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