Friday, January 6, 2012

Planned Obsolescence

Planned obsolescence is one of those terms like conspicuous consumption that's a product of the market economy. In short an object is created with a relatively short life begetting the need to buy another object. In its most recent incarnation Goldman Sachs produced mortgage backed securities (collateralized debt obligations) that they bet against (“Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won”,NYT, 12/23/09) Doesn’t this make you nostalgic for the old days when planned obsolescence meant simply that you would have to buy a new toaster oven or TV? Moore’s Law which indicates that generations of microprocessors will continually grow smaller and more capacious is another example of planned obsolescence which on an almost annual basis makes today’s tight new little gadget seem superannuated within a relativelyshort period of time. But this form of planned obsolescence is more the product of technological evolution than human venality and it’s the kind that most people face today when they are forced to buy new computers within increasingly short periods of time simply to cut down on costs. It’s rather simple. Time is money and the investment, which fattens the pockets of say Apple, also saves the consumer money. This is an example of value free planned obsolescence. The sociologist Thorstein Veblen coined the term conspicuous consumption in his book The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) and conspicuous consumers who attempt to rise socially through the acquisition of certain kind of objects will be victims of another kind of planned obsolescence as tomorrow’s fashion and automobile designs, force them to mortgage their existences, to keep up with the Joneses. It's an uncanny mixture of conspicuous consumption and planned obsolescence aggravated by simple acquisitiveness that ultimately created our current housing crisis.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    There is a easy way to fix your computer related equipment without replacing parts when EVERYONE says parts must be replaced. A computer technician discovered a fix for planned obsolescence in computers and related equipment. You can use this or keep buying IT equipment every time the authors of planned obsolescence want you to while feeding China’s economy.

    Please spread the word.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.