Planned obsolescence, sustainability, development model ...

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to see a great documentary on the TVE 2 (co-produced by Arte France , Spanish TV and Television of Catalonia, who must 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 following video program progress (4 ') that TVE own offered ... Buy Conspiracy. Advance.


'Buy, pull, buy'. Advance


The complete 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 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 'Air Traffic Controllers' , creation and social sharing information and knowledge on YouTube , Wikipedia , Tweeter , etc.

To this list, you can add this example of impact and social and educational commitment to television, with the film at hand 'History of Obsolescence Planned' for his contribution when trying to understand, adapt and act, in the current period 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 on the other the need to find a sustainable alternative model, it is interesting to analyze and understand the concept and history of 'Planned Obsolescence' 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, 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. '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, the 'OP' causes a continuous flow of 'waste' that just mainly in the third world (Ghana example 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 to '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 USA, which occurred in December 2003, from the action taken by the Neistat brothers (see video) against Apple, after buying an iPod, break the battery at 18 months and not allowing repair Apple battery, 'you had to change the whole system'.

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 repair, better to 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 that counts the number of prints that have taken up date, so that when the stop set is reached, the printer stops working. Through the Internet, identifies that there is software which resets said counter. Contacted the Russian developer SW, unloads, the timer is reset and the printer starts working again.

For critical to the Company's growth, or wastage ('Use and Throw'), and advocates' Degrowth Theory ',' not enough to reform production processes, but must 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 the existence of' 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 ongoing commitment, with respect to 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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