Who Plans for Planned Obsolescence?
The public’s concept of planned obsolescence is a phantom that has haunted industrial production for decades. The idea that manufacturers build products with an intended lifespan in mind, that businesses profit from making products that will break within a predetermined period and require consumers to replace them, seems an intuitive reality to some people.
While such practices may have been true in isolated instances, closer analysis indicates that those who draft the obsolescence plan are just as likely to be the buyers as the sellers.Concern over planned obsolescence has arisen again, especially in Europe, over concerns about the impact on the environment of waste from obsolete electronic devices, unnecessary overuse of resources, as well as their impact on consumer budgets. Studies have failed to uncover purposeful obsolescence targets for manufacturers. These reports have found, however, that often products are replaced not because they have broken but because they have fallen out of style, overrun by innovation.The pace of innovation seems to be accelerating nearly exponentially. Where mobile phones with new operational features once came onto the market every few years, today significantly advanced smartphones appear annually, with refreshed designs every three to four months.