Planned Obsolescence

Posted by DP | 4/16/2007 10:12:00 PM

Are consumer products made to break? An interview with author Giles Slade



From cell phones to PCs to computer monitors and televisions, every year sees an exponential rise in the number of machines tossed into landfills. In 2003, over 63 million working PCs were trashed, In 2004, that number jumped to 315 million. The same trend holds over a wide array of consumer electronics.

The reasons behind this are many and complex, but Slade hones in on one: companies profit more when products have shorter lifespans - because they sell more products that way. This is no conspiracy theory but, rather, simple economics. Small wonder, then, that product lifespans are shrinking across the board...
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My house is the consumer electronics equivalent of an oceanic dead zone; any electronic products brought into it seem to die a rapid death. This includes cordless phones, entertainment systems, and lately, blenders. My wife has purchased two in the last month, neither working well (or at all) for any length of time.

I don't think that's the case with all consumer items however. For instance, my day job involves refurbishing computers deemed obsolete by the corporations that previously used them. In most cases, the technology is still completely usuable when placed in a different environment that doesn't demand the latest bells and whistles.

African-Americans are the most marketed to group of people on the planet so I'm sure we're all doing our part to keep rampant consumerism rampant. For some reason, I not exactly sure that's a good thing. With that in mind, I still found the article to be very interesting. What do you think?

2 comments
  1. T.C. Dipped April 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM  

    Thanks for the article, it was a good read. I agree that electronic products are NOT built to last. This is how these brands make their money! They probably already figured in the costs of their hot product being purchased at least 3 times by everyone.

    I have a cell phone but I'm still trying to hold onto landline phones. I've purchased a new cordless phone EVERY YEAR since 2000, the name brand cordlesses conk out every time.

  2. serge April 25, 2007 at 9:41 AM  

    I agree

    It is like an eating of our planet.
    I would say more: "Biting and through away ..."

    It is funny, but usually to earn $1 for yourself you should destroy piece of nature worth $1000.