The Light Bulb Conspiracy
DVD2011 52 Minutes
The history and impact of planned obsolescence
Uncovers how planned obsolescence has shaped our lives and economy since the 1920’s, when manufacturers deliberately started shortening the life of consumer products to increase demand. The film also profiles a new generation of consumers, designers and business people who have started challenging planned obsolescence as an unsustainable economic driver.
The documentary begins by visiting the longest running light bulb in the world, which has burned continuously for over 110 years. Initially, light bulbs were built to last. But the film finds historical evidence revealing how a cartel in the 1920’s decided to produce bulbs limited to a maximum life of 1000 hours, making the humble light bulb one of the first examples of planned obsolescence and a model for increasing profits on other products.
Shot over three years in Europe, the U.S. and Ghana, the programme investigates the evolution and impact of planned obsolescence .
Also looks at modern examples of planned obsolescence, including computer printers and the controversy over the inability to replace iPod batteries. Environmental consequences are seen most dramatically in the massive amounts of electronic waste that end up in uncontrolled dump sites in Third World countries such as Ghana. It concludes with examples of consumers and businesses moving towards more sustainable practices and products, including Warner Philips, great grandson of the founder of Philips Electronics, who is producing an LED bulb designed to last 25 years
"An intelligent film which shows how, in our globalized world, planned obsolescence and outrageous consumerism create a new sustainability problem and a new form of oppression in the planet’s poorest countries. The clear and precise structure of the film allows students to easily grasp the complexities of the issue and encourages their own independent thinking about it."
Please note this DVD has two versions. One is 52 mijns and the other 75 mins