What is Planned Obsolescence?

what_is_planned_obscolescenceThough often cited as inventing the concept of planned obsolescence, American industrial designer Brooks Stevens actually only popularized the term. The expression is generally understood to mean the practice of artificially shortening product lifecycle with the intention of getting people to buy new replacement products sooner. A product with a limited useful life soon becomes obsolete or unfashionable. Some economists even saw the practice as a means of economic stimulation.

Subscription11Stevens defined it as “instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary.” Such a concept fits with the idea of frenetic intemperance in economy where there is the constant attempt to throw off restraints and fulfill our desires. It helps create a culture of instant gratifications where everyone must have everything instantly, right now, regardless of the consequences.

The contrary is an economy based on balance consumption where quality is appreciated and durability in goods is valued.