The Light Bulb Conspirancy: Planned Obsolescence.

“The light bulb conspiracy” is one of those documentaries which not leave you indifferent; it hits a nerve and develops a critical spirit on you.

ligh bulb conspirancy

It discusses the issue of planned obsolescence, that is to say the scheduled reduction of the useful life of some products to increase their consumption. The documentary begins with the example of a printer and discovering the real reason why it has stopped working. Then, it starts by explaining the origins of this plan, which lies in the creation of a cartel (Phoebus). This cartel consisted in changing the light bulbs’ manufacturing patents with the aim to last only 1000 hours. And up to cases such as cars, nylons and latest products-generation such as iPods (with a battery of only 18 months for the purpose you have to buy a new appliance when finished). It was between the decades of 1920-1930 that the following idea emerged: An item which did not break down was a tragedy for businesses and for their employers. So since then, the fact that there is the need to create fragile products or with a limited lifetime has been promoted. Therefore, sales and profitability remain constant, thus the global economy can keep going. The businesses defend themselves saying that the consumers are free to buy whatever they want. Let us not fool ourselves; nowadays advertising and fashion have a lot of influence in our consumer society.


The film fulfils its goal, to make you think about consumerism in a society of constant growth. Where there is this cycle of constant acceleration of production, consumption and waste. It makes you consider the fact that if we carry on with this model a day when we run out of resources will come. So, additionally, we should take into account that “there is an infinite progress head in a finite planet.” One important consequence to keep in mind is that with greater consumption comes higher waste. The documentary wisely shows us that a large amount of waste end up in Ghana, Africa. They enter the products with the label of second-hand ones. There, they try to repair and use the again, but mostly they end up in landfills increasingly full.

Finally, the film gives a few examples and an interesting proposal: That is essential to create more laws to ensure that companies eliminate their products in an environmentally friendly way. I totally agree with it and we should start finding ways and alternatives to reconsider this existing planned obsolescence and rethinking the values of our present society and economy.
I believe it is a complicated issue, but today there are already moves up against this planned obsolescence. Should we need to start asking ourselves these challenges and promote them? Of course, yes. We need to try changing and overcoming the barrier that one day Gandhi said:ghandi

The Light Bulb Conspirancy: Planned Obsolescence.

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So, the first presentation is done! What a relief, I was so nervous… But I enjoyed a lot learning about all the data the other groups had presented.

If I have to comment all the presentations this post would be eternal! But to mention just a few points…: I really liked the general idea and the curiosity of the uprising in Egypt organized through Twitter of the first group and the personal touch (so funny) of the second. The third group part about “Mobile social media used no matter what”so true, what the users expect to happen after they become a company fan of the fourth group was really well found, too. And finally parents and social media? Educating the children or monitoring them? Like all other groups, very good.

7970301754_427a383ea4_oWe organized the teams via Twitter and as a new ‘twiterer’ I have to say it was very practical and fun. On the first days of class  you don’t know all your classmates, their interests… So, it was easy to get in contact that way. You can share you thoughts, what topics you’re interested in… Then, you reply, give your opinion while you maybe are lying in your cozy sofa or the cafeteria and that’s all, you joined your team! You can communicate more quickly and scheduling work is easier. Besides, some people are more likely sometimes to respond to a tweet than an email or a text.

An other advantatge is that throught twitter you can literally access a lot of people. That’s a huge resource of free ideas, links to interesting data… I actually find some data for our presentation that way. You feel so good when you read a tweet that really helps you with your assignments! Then, the thought about how Internet has provided an endless stream of distraction seems exagerated…

P.S. I found some interesting blog’ post about how to use Twitter in the classroom, so is somewhat realted. It has a lot of tips and it’s long but it can be an interesting lecture. Here comes the link if you want to have a look,  60 ways to use Twitter in the classroom.

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