July 18, 2009

Planned Obsolescence

Have you ever wondered why the Made in China 2 Euro aluminum soap dispenser or the 14 Euro steam iron (also made in China) you bought some time ago were defect after six months of use and had to be thrown away? All of us know why but we should not blame only the Chinese for this; equally responsible are those who order and distribute to the rest of the world this crap: low quality products meant to last very short and be replaced as soon as possible with new crap. Thanks to the video The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard I know now the official term of this phenomenon: "Planned Obsolescence". The production outsourcing aficionados have given to the planned obsolescence (that together with the "Perceived obsolescence" became two of the foundations of the American / West European consumerism dogma after the 2nd world war) a new impulse with the migration of production to third world countries with the well known effects of pollution, sources depletion and labor manipulation.
The video (that I came across looking to the web page of VINT) is one of the best anti-mass consumption, anti-marketing and pro-sustainability videos I have seen. I think that next to some oversimplifications that could be questioned the video on the whole is excellent and I recommend it to everyone. If you get sad after looking to it you could cheer up watching another anti-marketing video from JibJab.