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The Light Bulb Conspiracy

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Rating: 3.1/5 (15 votes cast)

The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a documentary that examines how companies undertake Planned Obsolescence, which is the deliberate shortening of product life spans. This as the movie argues is done to guarantee consumer demand.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy involves investigative research and rare archive footage to trace the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, right from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel, set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, to modern day stories involving cutting edge electronics (such as the iPod) and the growing spirit of resistance amongst ordinary consumers.

This film moves to different countries like France, Germany, Spain and the US in order to find witnesses belonging to an industry and following a business practice which forms the basis of the modern economy.

The film shows the underbelly of the business practice by showing disquieting pictures from Africa, a country where discarded electronics are piled up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy, 3.1 out of 5 based on 15 ratings
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14 Comments

  1. noop9k says:

    Most consumers are not interested in conservation. Take money away, they will continue to compete for status symbols. For god sake, people are killing each other for virtual items that have no value, except for their scarcity! If there is no scarcity, they will create it!

  2. noop9k says:

    Now some reality check.Printer and nylon stories are good. Textbook example of planned obsolescence. Polyamides are just too strong and expensive for most consumer stuff. Had indestructible shirt once, uncomfortable to wear though. Also, nylon is hard to recycle, instable in the presence of acids and byproducts are toxic. Lightbulb story isn’t completely believable. These old lightbulbs are obviously dim, not as hot as modern. Low efficiency. What you save in resources, you lose in energy.

  3. noop9k says:

    Nope, consumer goods in soviet union were quite bad. And affordable cars were unreliable monstrosities. Even if you can repair old Moskvich by yourself to infinity, you won’t like driving it. Same goes for washing machines or vacuum cleaners. BTW, some export goods were excellent, but you couldn’t even find them on domestic market or only lower grade stuff was available.

  4. 3rdMayhem says:

    no hate and no reason. Cuz at the same time of the competition of the 2 systems, capitalism had the same flaws (which became enormously big til today).There were simply guys in power on both sides who feared to lose all their wealth and power if “the other system” would have succeeded. and now its only a matter of time when more and more people see that todays capitalism can no longer fullfil its promises for the masses and take down the phlegmatic zombie-governments and their allies.

  5. lauris15151 says:

    communism was a good idea but there was few flaws in it, corruption and housing of the masses….that could be a reason of hate too. but its only speculation and we shouldn’t worry about past we should worry about the future.

  6. kaushiksays says:

    Well…is it a coincidence that there Afghanistan just uncovered rare earth gold mine of gigantic proportions ? The largest was in China. Apple made the top revenue in 2011. The push towards hybrid battery powered cars and carbon tax on third world / manufacturing countries ….. I sound like a conspiracy theorist it makes perfect economic sense. Please spread the word.

  7. blica1 says:

    @waywardeuSE not at all..i’ve seen documentaries on marijuana and it was quite interesting..and i’ve learned to keep an open mind on any and all conspiratorial aspects of any subject..so no, i don’t think your opinion is that a “stoner”, but someone who just might be intuitive,,

  8. blica1 says:

    my blackberry curve, when it came nearly 2 years ago, which i got with my 2 year contract with my cell phone company “seems” to not be operating as efficiently as it was before..this , is in conjunction and right on time that my 2 year contract is up in 3 weeks, and have sent me a promotional advertisement to get a new phone with my next contract..mmm ..sound sketchy ?..yeah, i think so..and it’s not the 1st time it happens either !

  9. harris8000 says:

    Maybe they made things as cheaply as possible so more people can afford them so technology is more widespread. Maybe they plan obsolescence to nudge society forward and insure that we are as technologically as possible. I will watch this video and see if my views change.

  10. @tittiger Precisely: the myth of joblessness as a disease debunked. We strive towards development and progress (which sums up as letting machines do the work for us) and at the same time things get more and more expensive AND we are told there joblessness is an issue. Yet isn’t the point of progress and mechanisation to produce with less effort? Hence commodities should become cheaper and joblessness is the very aim and purpose of progress.

  11. @tittiger The great philosopher Bertrand Russel proposed exactly that. If we had a good education system, and less commercial “buy more” indoctrination we would become a society of artists, writers, scientists, activists, athletes and engineers. We would probably be able to produce more, but the products would actually be useful and could be made responsibly.We paid taxes to finance high tech. It should be used for a 20 hour week, not to enrich the 1 % for nothing!

  12. I am now motivated to find a way to extend the life and upgrade of my computer rather then buying a new one, I in the past had always assumed that old electronic devices would be recycled and turned into new computers or mechanics, I was wrong, not all electronics get recycled. Also check out “ZEITGEIST: MOVING FORWARD | OFFICIAL RELEASE | 2011″

  13. TandaST says:

    And here we will come to a conclusion that decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue should be made in the best interests of the whole of society by some authorities. So that commodity-money relationships could also disappear, and people could work as long as necessary, and earn as much as they need. Wait, that’s a scary bloody communism! I wonder if our current system, devastating for ecology, with all its crises – is much better.

  14. Nebunlina says:

    Great film! Until it got to the Philips guy claiming an LED bulb will last 25 years (if used 3 hours per day, which is the standard the industry uses, not burning 25 years nonstop). But how do they know that? It would take 5 years to test and by that time be outdated. Even if it technically lasts 25 years it won’t give out enough light after a while to be in any way useful as LEDs lose output with use. They also have a poorer light quality, it’s nothing at all like incandescent light.

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