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Planned Obsolescence

This generation is blessed to be able to experience some of the most amazing feats of technology the world has ever known. Thee have been amazing wonders of the world such as the pyramids of Giza and the hanging gardens of Babylon. In the next decade or so, 3D printers will be advanced enough to allow amateurs to design and build such things with little or no skill of their own. As much as we benefit from this surge in technology there are some problems that come along with it. This essay looks specifically at planned obsolescence.

What it is

The term ‘planned obsolescence’ refers to the purposeful inclusion of elements in a product that will cause it to wear out or become useless before its time. In garment manufacture this might mean weak threads that will burst after a certain number of washes. In cell phones this may refer to casings that crack easily on impact so that the phone becomes unsightly or unusable.

How it affects Consumers

It causes consumers to spend more than they would have had to otherwise. They may need to replace their wardrobe especially frequently or their gadgets not long after purchase. At least some of the time, devices that are in perfectly good working order may become obsolete because new upgrades have come on stream that are not compatible.

What can we do to stop it

Consumers can only stop this business practice by becoming producers themselves. There have been cases where people have started companies that would create sturdier garments and accessories intended to last a lifetime rather than only a few months. This might not seem like a fashion forward idea but many people were interested and made purchases. If more industries had options of this nature the demand might surprise manufacturers to change their processes.

How can we mitigate its effects

If starting a company seems like too much of a problem, keeping your old products and learning to repair them can be a more feasible plan. There are videos available online that can show the average person how to reinforce stitches, solder broken parts back together and any number of other projects.

There are other hidden aspects of our manufacturing processes that are anti consumer. It is only by paying attention and adding our own input that we will achieve the changes that we want to see.

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