Planned obsolescence is in a sense a built-in limitation of the lifespan of products and even services, famously exposed around a sort of collusion in the light-bulb mass production industry. Apparently, it was light-bulb manufacturers who came together to discuss and implement ways through which they could all limit the number of hours each of their light bulbs burn, which naturally levels the playing field for them as manufacturers in that consumers can’t really choose one light bulb to make over another based on how long it lasts.
We have to look at this and see it for exactly what it is, which is quite deceitful, to say the least and planned obsolescence is a practice which still goes on in this day and age.
Rather ironically though, it seems to be the energy production sector which is leading the fightback, largely led by a growing and spreading desire for more consumers to explore ways through which to generate their own energy or make use of energy generation sources which afford them a bit more autonomy. Yes, we perhaps still don’t get the maximum amount of burning hours possible from each light bulb we buy, but generally speaking light bulbs in particular have had to become more efficient as per the regulations set all around the world for them to save more energy, a by-product of which is the fact that the typical light-bulb lasts much longer.
I’m yet to meet someone who confirms the claims that the typical energy-efficient bulb lasts up to the indicated eight years, but they definitely last a lot longer than the average burning time we’d become accustomed to in the discontinued 60-100 watt bulbs that were commonplace.
Now though we have even more power in our hands as consumers – excuse the pun, in that we can base our purchasing decisions by way of the equipment we use to power up and run our homes solely on performance. Well, price will always be an issue, but there are choices now and those who are on the other side of the fence and who produce these goods have to jump on board and cater to what the market wants. It’s now totally about lasting quality over trying to milk the consumer for every recurring penny they have, with that part of what is a common business practice rather coming in the form of after sales services such as installation and maintenance.
Some consumers are taking the combating of planned obsolescence even further, rallying the masses to have power production and power-use goods produced without having to involve the traditional players in the market and so it’s becoming more and more about efficiency and quality over a sole focus on maximising profits.
Independent producers who source their funding over platforms such as crowdfunding sites are a great example of this in that their backers, which are ordinary people like you and I, only have to dig a couple of inches into their pockets to make sure such projects get off the ground and eventually hit the market, solving problems from the point of view of those of us who need those solutions to these problems.