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  • This video was made possible by the  people who support me on Patreon.

  • In December of 1924, the heads of  all the major lightbulb manufacturers  

  • across the world met in Geneva to concoct  a sinister plan. Their talks outlined  

  • limits on how long all of their lightbulbs would  last. The idea being that if their bulbs failed  

  • quickly customers would have to buy more of  their product. In this video, we're going  

  • to unpack this idea of purposefully creating  inferior products to drive sales, a symptom  

  • of late stage capitalism that has since been  coined planned obsolescence. And as we'll see,  

  • this obsolescence can have drastic consequences on  our wallets, waste streams, and even our climate.

  • What is Planned Obsolescence

  • Corporations create obsolescence through two  main avenues: planned obsolescence and perceived  

  • obsolescence. Both practices are meant to makeproduct seem useless or actually useless in order  

  • to drive sales. Planned obsolescence occurs  when a company manufactures a device to fail  

  • before its realistic lifespan. This usually  means a weaker filament, plastic encasement, or a  

  • fragile glass screen that limits the durability of  the good. In the case of the collection of 1920s  

  • electricity companies known as the Phoebus cartelthey applied this principle to lightbulbs. The  

  • Phoebus cartel collectively cut the lifespan of  their products in half from 2,000 to 1,000 hours,  

  • so that consumers would have to buy twice the  amount of lightbulbs that they did previously.

  • On the other side of obsolescence there's the more  amorphous phenomenon of perceived obsolescence.  

  • Think of that new phone you bought or that new  style of clothes you've been eyeing or even  

  • this year's new line of pickup trucks. All these  are instances of perceived obsolescence. When  

  • companies release their new line of productstheir older products quickly become unfashionable  

  • or less desirable. In order to get you to keep  buying their goods corporations consistently  

  • market their new lines to make it seem like  that new gadget you just bought a year ago  

  • is an antique, even though, in most casesthe older product still works. This kind  

  • of perceived obsolescence is especially prevalent  with cars, technology, and fashion, because these  

  • consumer goods have been transformed into status  symbols. If you want to keep up appearances,  

  • you grab the newest model of the iPhone. If  you want to look good, you buy the latest style  

  • from that instagram ad. But how and why does  planned and perceived obsolescence work on us?

  • How Does Planned Obsolescence Work? As we've just seen, modern obsolescence comes  

  • in various forms: from brittle parts that break  easily, to glued-in batteries you can't replace  

  • to aesthetic upgrades that take the previous  version out of fashion. And it seems the master  

  • of all these methods is Apple. It's one of the top  three phone producers in the world as well as the  

  • most valuable company globally. In part, the tech  giant's market dominance was created by and now  

  • allows for Apple to employ an environmentally  dangerous combination of perceived and planned  

  • obsolescence that leaves consumers buyingbrand new iPhone every two or three years.  

  • For the iPhone it all starts with the batteryAfter about 2-3 years of peak performance,  

  • the iPhone battery begins to wear out. But if you  want to change the battery, it's not as simple as  

  • popping the back phone and sliding in replacementDepending on the version of the iPhone you'll need  

  • special screwdrivers, adhesive removers, suction  cups, and possibly even a soldering gun just to  

  • replace your rundown battery. In an interview with  the team at the popular DIY tech website iFixit,  

  • they call the iPhone battery a “premature death  clock that they're building into it by building  

  • in a consumable is designed to increase the number  of iPhones apple sells by.” Apple's normalization  

  • of the built-in battery, which, before the age of  the iPhone, was rarely seen in cellphones, nudges  

  • customers into buying new rather than struggling  to replace the battery. And if you do want Apple  

  • to replace a battery or some other damage to your  device, you'll have to cough up a lot of cash.  

  • At times up to 50-70% of the phone's original  cost. This is because you can't just take your  

  • iPhone to any old repair shop. Only Apple stores  and Apple certified repair locations are allowed  

  • to fix iPhones. So, when the cost of repair is  high and the newest model of iPhone has just been  

  • released it's difficult to not splurge on that  new device. This is, yet again, another barrier  

  • towards reusing your phone, reducing consumptionand ultimately minimizing your environmental  

  • impact. Finally, Apple's warranty only covers  your freshly purchased iPhone for one year, which  

  • is well before the 2-3 year range when Apple's  hardware typically begins to fail. The point here  

  • is this: none of these practices are necessary  for the production or sale of Apple's products;  

  • Apple intentionally chooses to build this  waste into its product design and business  

  • plan because these steps are necessary to make  Apple into a tech giant and capitalist behemoth.

  • Indeed, Apple just comes out and admits how  long they expect their devices to last: 7  

  • years. After seven years, their productsin their words, “become obsolete.” But wait,  

  • Charlie, isn't 7 years kind of a long  time for a phone or computer to last?  

  • It may sound like a long time now, but  prior to the advent of this iPhone paradigm,  

  • spending $1,000 on a product that will be obsolete  in 7 years at most would have felt completely  

  • unreasonable. Many of us are so surrounded  by planned and perceived obsolescence  

  • that we have been primed to think that owningsingle device for 7 years is actually a long time.

  • And even if their phones do last the fullyears, Apple creates perceived obsolescence  

  • by consistently marketing their phones through  aesthetics, lifestyle, and status. Even that  

  • green bubble in iMessage seems to be telling  us that other phones are somehow worse. So,  

  • at the end of the day, if Apple genuinely did want  you to continue using your phone then they would  

  • offer longer warranties or create more durableeasily repairable tech. But they don't, because  

  • once you've captured the market like they haveobsolescence becomes pretty damn profitable.

  • Apple, however, is just one of many examples  of obsolescence in capitalism. There's Epson's  

  • proprietary ink cartridges, barely modified new  editions of school textbooks from McGraw Hill, and  

  • even Tesla seems primed to be next, with its  reluctance to allow independent auto-repair  

  • shops to service their cars, a move  remarkably similar to that of Apple.

  • Both planned and perceived obsolescence lead  to that pile of perfectly operable phones in  

  • your desk drawer as well as fuel the 50  million metric tons of e-waste created  

  • each year. These corporate practices make our  quest to embrace climate-aligned actions such  

  • as reusing and reducing consumption much  harder. In short, manufactured obsolescence  

  • fuels consumerism and environmental degradation  in an already overconsuming world. So if it's  

  • clearly a terrible scheme for our walletswellbeing, and the environment, how do we stop it?

  • A New Economic Model vs. Planned Obsolescence 

  • Luckily, there are a variety of short-term and  long-term solutions for getting rid of planned  

  • obsolescence. On an individual level, simply  taking the time to repair, take care, and reuse  

  • your possessions is a great first step. But as  we've just seen, companies have a vested interest  

  • in making that as hard as possible--both through  the durability of their product and by influencing  

  • your mindset through advertising. Which means that  Right to Repair campaigns and court cases like  

  • these are essential to easing the unnecessary  burden on the consumer. But as we zoom out  

  • further, companies like Apple have to be forced  to change how they do business. France already  

  • has planned obsolescence laws, and companies  like Fairphone show that it is actually possible  

  • to make a longer lasting phone that is easy to  repair. The battery on the Fairphone only takes  

  • about eight minutes to replace. But ultimatelyobsolescence is a symptom of late stage  

  • capitalism, so if we want to create a world in  which durable, sustainable products are the norm,  

  • we have to embrace a new mindset and build a new  economic system that at every stage in the process  

  • asks: “does it actively contribute to humans and  nature thriving together as one integrated system  

  • on this planet? If yes, green light. If notred light. Period.” If all of this sounds hard  

  • or impossible, science tells us there can be no  other way. Since the early eighties we've known  

  • that global temperatures will rise if left  unchecked, and yet we've made very little progress  

  • since then. So, the world, and for that matterour economy, needs to change, and eliminating  

  • planned obsolescence is just one step on the path  to a more just, more sustainable economic system.

  • Hey everyone, Charlie here. If you've been  watching Our Changing Climate for a while  

  • or just stumbled across this video and are  wondering how you can help me make more videos,  

  • then consider supporting the show on Patreon. As  an OCC patron, you'll gain early access to videos,  

  • special behind the scenes updates, as well  as a members-only group chat. In addition,  

  • each month my supporters vote on an environmental  group that I then donate a portion of my monthly  

  • revenue to. So if you want to support the  channel or are feeling generous, head over  

  • to patreon.com/ourchangingclimate and become an  OCC patron. If you're not interested or aren't  

  • financially able, then no worries! I hope you  enjoyed the video, and I'll see you in two weeks!

This video was made possible by the  people who support me on Patreon.

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B2 中高級 美國腔

计划报废很糟糕(Planned Obsolescence Sucks. Here's Why It Still Exists.)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 06 月 13 日
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