Culture Education Film Introspection Perspective Psychology

Planned Obsolescence of Consumer Goods

Products were once made to last. You understood the length and value of your dollar. I’d argue people today are materialistic and consumer based with the products that break down quick. I think it’s for a number of reasons.

First, I think it’s used as a distraction and an escape. People are denying their death. Believing they can escape the comfort of their hard life. Rather than creating something in the meantime. Something creative and imaginative. But not everyone can be creative, it requires a kind of intelligence and patience. I’ve written about this before, people are looking for an escape rather than exploring themselves.

I think the public is inclined to show off their value through commodities. Probably since the days of Neanderthals we’ve been flexing and hooting our gold from atop a mountain. Everything becomes an economic market to determine your value.

From Wall Street to Wal-Mart, to the superficial connection between social media. We are giving a numerical value to everything. All is analyzed, quantified, measurable. For better or worse.

I find consumer goods aren’t really meant to last. A lot of goods are probably designed to break down. They have an undisclosed expiration date – as if they are food! They have been designed in a way that makes them obsolete within a small time frame.

I keep my eyes and ears pealed when I want a chuckle and someones device breaks down, “Didn’t you just buy that?” – And they did.

There seems to be an irrational fear of being uncool and unconventional if we lose out on the latest product. Marketing and Psych 101, I suppose.

I bet you can go to a developing country where they have very little for food but they still have the latest gizmo! The Market doesn’t close just on the west, this is happening. So people will want to renew, update, re-install their product with a replacement.

Something new. More cutting edge, SHINY etc. It is all temporal, fleeting value all to keep the capitalist system thriving (Don’t think I’m Anti-Capitalist, however.)

I simply don’t feel so inclined to make more fleeting purchases. I think this temporal consumption parallels the culture of neoteny, poor restraint and instant gratification.   People are merely pinging off of one another. I want to live for myself and not for someone’s perception of me. I see that game.

If you didn’t hear about it through the medium you wouldn’t fret over not having it.

There’s an obsolescence to materials. They are designed to breakdown. Arguably, it is to keep a capitalist society perpetuated, it’s also been criticized to jump start the economy when in need.

If you can purchase materials that are of good quality, more power to you. I’m not opposed to all materials, just the ones that lose their value very fast.

I know some people that think and feel the same why I do.  It’s interesting to see when this pattern of thinking emerges in people I know. When they discover, “I’ve been had!”

To end, I’ll leave this interesting documentary I found on the topic, check it out!

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One reply on “Planned Obsolescence of Consumer Goods”

We all know it, but it’s great to say it! You reminded me to keep it simple, my mantra over the last few years (but how easy it is to slide back). Your post also helps me to stop quantifying everything, time, effort, creative pursuits. Sometimes we need to do something just for the sake of doing it.


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