February 14, 2023

The curse of planned obsolescence

By b1z3d1t0r

Every time our mobile phone breaks or its battery starts giving trouble, even without considering the option of getting it repaired, most of us start looking for the latest models of phones available in the market and we end up buying a new phone. This is because most of us as consumers of electronics, electrical and computer technologies have reconciled to the fact that these gadgets have a limited lifespan.

It can be very cumbersome to get mobile phones, laptops, washing machines, microwaves, tumblers etc. repaired. Most of the time, the repair cost is so high that it only appears logical to add a little more money to this high cost of repair and replace the old broken gadget with a brand-new one. Have you ever wondered why, in this era of technology sophistication which should have led to production of high-quality superior phones and household appliances, our phones and electronic equipment don’t always last long?

The answer is “Planned Obsolescence”, which means production of goods with uneconomically short, useful lives so that customers will have to make repeat purchases. The history of planned obsolescence dates back to 1924 when the heads of all the major lightbulb manufacturers across the world including Philips, General Electric and Osram, met in Geneva and agreed to cut in half their incandescent bulbs’ lifetime. Collectively they decided to cut the lifespan of their bulbs from 2,000 to 1,000 hours. The idea being that if their bulbs fused quickly customers would have to buy more of their product.