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Vedran Jelaca

Business Excellence Analyst, Daimler AG

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Planned Obsolescence or, why light bulbs die after 1000h? Even if not official or Government regulated, exists. Should it?

Planned Obsolescence, a trend started and encouraged in the 1920's by the Phoebus cartel, a group of light bulb manufacturing comapnies, is very much alive today.
Not only companies manufacture products of lower quality than technologically possible, but they do it intentionally. The sooner something breaks, the sooner we will need to replace it, of course, just outside the warranty period.

Overlooking the extra cost for the consumer and the lost opportunities in innovation (because, why should we?), the unnecessary impact on our planet's resources is immense.
The only positive aspect I could find was employment creation...

Should we allow this kind of behaviour? Should it be regulated?

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    Mar 1 2011: @Petr: About the lightbulbs, I agree, and it was just an example. I mainly used it because it was that industry that started the trend, nothing else.

    What we should be looking at is the fact that many of the good and products we buy today, are made tof ail after a certain period of time. Not because they break down, but becasue they are amde to break down at that point in time/use.
    It is not only tremendously irresponsible towards resource usage, but also an unnecessary cost/burden on the household budget.

    Also, if you want a more recent example, printers with "print counting" chips, that after x prints, give a message error and stop working...
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    Mar 1 2011: The question is unimportant because light bulbs - the clical or Edison kind are obsolete, being replaced b
    light sources 5 times more (and more) economical, which also last much longer.
    The reason for 'built in death' of old type, given by industry, was that they become inefficient (even more) with age.
    It may be true, but it is now irrlevant.
  • Feb 28 2011: intended breakdown.. in all its aspects is environmentally wasting including employment. maybe employees who don't need to work in companies(manufacturing low-quality products) if there is no inteded breakdown can go somewhere they can use their ability fully. For companies this kind of sales strategy would be smart one but as you pointed out, it never do good for consumers, entrepreneurship and environments. Maybe in the long run that strategy will deteriorate quality of those companies.