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Thread: Planned Obsolescence

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    Robot Assassin Pa3s's Avatar
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    Default Planned Obsolescence

    Everything is bound to break. But in the world of today, products are actually expected to break after a certain time.

    It's called planned obsolescence, some might see it as the 'heart' of capitalism, but actually, it's just another crutch to support a market system which is obsolete itself. It is evident that most products you can buy will be produced with intentional flaws, substandard resources or even programmes which block the correct function after a certain time like in several printers. The reason for all that is pretty obvious: If the people had durable and high-quality products which work for a long time, they don't need to buy new ones. The shops can't make money this way. Factories wouldn't have any orders and couldn't produce anything. People would lose their jobs and the whole system was ruined. But is it better to produce low-quality consumer products and therefore waste a lot of time and resources? No.

    This way, we hinder our own potential. We have the knowledge and the ablility to support everyone with the necessities of life but we're engaging in small-minded and short-sighted fights for more wealth instead. Everything is focused on gaining money in any possible way but higher goals are disregarded. Take the exploration of space as an example. Who would actually want to invest in something that won't help him to aggregate more money?

    The market system and the use of money might have worked a very long time, but we have to find alternatives in our modern society. Of course, it's not easy to establish a whole new system and fully disregard the old one. Generations of people used to handle money and some might even live for it. But if nothing changes it will crash someday. We've had several economical crises now and we may also have some more to go. That's why we need a new and primarily fair system to replace the free market capitalism of today.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Crispy's Avatar
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    Down with Profit Based Economy.
    ILI (FINAL ANSWER)

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    There is another reason for regular replacement of devices/equipment.

    The issue with technology is that for fast advancement of technology, things have to be modernized and replaced, otherwise there is no reason to do research.

    Durable and high quality products are good and all, but there is also a need for cheap disposable products which can be discarded once it has become competitively obsolete.

    I'm pretty against bricking devices and putting in code which will brick devices after a certain time period as well as the myriad of closed locked down BS that companies and service providers like to enact, but ultimately devices and various technologies especially connected devices must be allowed to lapse, otherwise it is those services which are being maintained and used but obsolete that is draining resources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    The issue with technology is that for fast advancement of technology, things have to be modernized and replaced, otherwise there is no reason to do research.
    Of course, modernization is an other – and justified – reason to replace this. Some might also see the change of style and fashion as one, but this is functionally rather irrelevant. But imagine something simple which is at the highest state of development. This state doesn't actually exists, but see it in a practical way. Take a razor for example. (Sorry, I used this example already somewhere else, but it's a quite good one.) You don't expect that there will be much development anymore and a razor isn't necessarily something fashionable. So these two reasons for replacement aren't important right now. But still, the blades have to be replaced very often and they are also pretty expensive. It seems natural that the company produces blades which blunt easily so they can sell a lot more compared to long-lasting ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    Durable and high quality products are good and all, but there is also a need for cheap disposable products which can be discarded once it has become competitively obsolete.
    Do we really need disposable products? If we changed our lifestyle I think we could use many more re-useable packages and goods. It's like I said above: People who have everything they need won't buy new things and that's bad for the business.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

  5. #5
    Creepy-male

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    Developing reusable/updatable things is actually an engineering challenge.

    I remember recently my Bose Headphones broke, the wire entering into the right speaker got exposed from the sleeve and frayed... I went to my dad which is a bit of a handyman and we cut the wire, removed it from the sleeve/covering, soldered the frayed wire together, covered in electrical tape, then took black material which shrinks when exposed to heat, wrapped it around the exposed wire and it conformed to the black covering rather well... now the headphones work as good as new and its hard to tell they've been tampered with. I'm so glad I didn't replace them... the most valuable aspect of those headphones are the actual speaker component, unless that breaks your better off getting it repaired.

    It's amazing that Bose doesn't have the ability for the consumer to simply replace/repair parts... the amount of money people can save from this is staggering, but it doesn't serve making profits, and further it's impractical to offer parts when the vast majority of consumers don't realize the potential for repair/replacement of parts for the goods they own. Even in terms of automotive tasks, cars get more complicated in terms of repair, and consumers largely prefer to differ to the service industry when repairs are needed. No longer is it part of the American consumer ethos to repair things.

    I've even begun saving one or two broken electrical devices as an educational thing, to see if any components can be salvaged/replaced. Unfortunately I don't have the tools to do work with electrical devices.
    Last edited by male; 02-22-2011 at 12:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Creepy-male

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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    But still, the blades have to be replaced very often and they are also pretty expensive. It seems natural that the company produces blades which blunt easily so they can sell a lot more compared to long-lasting ones.
    The problem with that is the focus is on money and not physical services/resources.

    If labor and capital were diverted to other useful undertakings rather than replacing shitty blades, this could benefit consumers better, but it also requires change on the producers part in order to make money.

    If you work for a razor company, you don't want to have to change industry to something else which is more profitable and employees don't want to be fired. People want to just stabilize out and make shitty razors and expect people to continually buy and replace them.

    I'm fairly optimistic, because a company that can innovate and is efficient will ultimately make more money, given a consumer ethos that values reliability and repair. Further with IT systems it will be easy to track the market and resources, the computer keeps getting more and more powerful.

    What I can see is pitfalls in developing towards this new model, they may be huge and severe, or mild, who knows, but its definitely the future... ideally people will incorporate things strategically towards innovation in stepping stones, and all that takes is a different ethos about business practice.

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    Of course, modernization is an other – and justified – reason to replace this. Some might also see the change of style and fashion as one, but this is functionally rather irrelevant. But imagine something simple which is at the highest state of development. This state doesn't actually exists, but see it in a practical way. Take a razor for example. (Sorry, I used this example already somewhere else, but it's a quite good one.) You don't expect that there will be much development anymore and a razor isn't necessarily something fashionable. So these two reasons for replacement aren't important right now. But still, the blades have to be replaced very often and they are also pretty expensive. It seems natural that the company produces blades which blunt easily so they can sell a lot more compared to long-lasting ones.
    Razors are basically a huge rip off but I still use a Mach 3. So are animal rubber bands for 10 dollars and for whatever god awful reason my nephew has them.
    Razors are not a huge waste of resources, rather they're a big waste of money as are animal rubber bands. I'm lucky a single razor can last me a year and I have no kids to spend money on.
    The middle class have some ability to indulge in luxury goods and waste and really there is not much to do about it. The power of marketing seems to work on people and there seems to be a aesthetic and pleasure component to many of these products. A waste of money may not really be a large waste of resources.

    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    Do we really need disposable products? If we changed our lifestyle I think we could use many more re-useable packages and goods. It's like I said above: People who have everything they need won't buy new things and that's bad for the business.
    Ultimately the time saving and maintainance savings produced by many disposable products makes it worthwhile for people to consume them. People who have everything they need will still buy new things, because shopping seems to bring pleasure to many people. In the end almost everything is disposable especially if it's not being used. People will still buy stuff when they have everything they need. People who have a problem throwing away stuff we call hoarders, and that's another sort of problem.

    I'm pretty big on anything that saves me some time or cleanup.

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