Planned Obsolescence is the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand.
As a magazine for advertisers succinctly puts it: The article that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business - and a tragedy for the modern growth society which relies on an ever-accelerating cycle of production, consumption and throwing away.
The Light Bulb Conspiracy combines investigative research and rare archive footage to trace the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel, set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, to present-day stories involving cutting edge electronics (such as the iPod) and the growing spirit of resistance amongst ordinary consumers.
This film travels to France, Germany, Spain and the US to find witnesses of a business practice which has become the basis of the modern economy, and brings back disquieting pictures from Africa where discarded electronics are piling up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste.
|Never burns out Bulb cam|
Dangling from the ceiling of a California firehouse is a bulb that’s burned for 989,000 hours -- nearly 113 years. Since its first installation in 1901, it has rarely been turned off, has outlived every firefighter from the era, and has been proclaimed the “Eternal Light” by General Electric experts and physicists around the world.
Tracing the origins of the bulb -- known the Centennial Light -- raises questions as to whether it is a miracle of physics, or a sign that new bulbs are weaker. Its longevity still remains a mystery.