27 December 2016
Planned Obsolescence: Why the Products You Buy are Designed to Break
by Sofo Archon, Guest writer for Wake Up World, 12 December 2016
How many times have you bought an electronic device, only to find out that it has stopped functioning properly just a short time after your purchase? You spent so much money on it, and suddenly you’re sad to know that it’s not working well anymore. The result? Wasted expenses, labor, energy and finite resources, not to mention the toxic waste that ends up in landfills, poisoning the planet.
But why is that so? Why is it that most products’ lifespan is so short, considering the advanced modern technological means of production? The answer is planned obsolescence.
Planned Obsolescence and the Cycle of Perpetual Consumption
Our economic system is based on constant consumption — the more we buy, the more money moves into the economy, and hence the more the economy grows. If money stops moving, the economic system is bound to collapse, since people will not be paid or have money to pay for the products and services they need or want.
There are two main ways our society manages to keep people buying stuff:
Firstly, through advertising. We’re exposed to thousands of advertisements each and every day whose sole purpose is to convince us to keep on shopping under the promise that doing so will make our lives better. Through advertising, companies have managed to make us confuse our needs with our wants, thus making us desire to acquire things that we don’t truly need, so that we can fill in their pockets by emptying our own.
Secondly, through planned obsolescence, although this is not yet understood by many. If you didn’t know, planned obsolescence is a production technique that compels people to buy more and more stuff unnecessarily, by providing people with products of short lifespan. Instead of creating goods with the intention to last for as long as it is technically possible — considering that we are living in a finite planet with finite resources as well as the importance of saving material and human energy — companies, whose sole interest is to make sales, purposefully design products of low quality that will soon break, or become obsolete, in order to assure repeat purchases.