This is why we can't have nice things
This video is about stuff: light bulbs, printers, phones and why they aren't better. Go to and use code VERITASIUM to get a 2-year plan plus 1 additional month with a huge discount. It’s risk free with Nord’s 30 day money-back guarantee!
The Man in the White Suit -
London, B. (1932). Ending the depression through planned obsolescence. -
Slade, G. (2009). Made to break: Technology and obsolescence in America. Harvard University Press -
Krajewski, M. (2014). The great lightbulb conspiracy. IEEE spectrum, 51(10), 56-61. -
Planet Money, The Phoebus Cartel -
The Light Bulb Conspiracy -
Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Mac Malkawi, Oleksii Leonov, Michael Schneider, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Lyvann Ferrusca, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal
Written by Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Ivan Tello
Filmed by Derek Muller and Raquel Nuno
Edited by Derek Muller
Video supplied by Getty Images
Music by Jonny Hyman and from"Aquatic Planet", "Rhythm of Dreams", "Tread Lightly", "Unexpected Visitors", "Curved Mirrors" "Drunken Lullaby" "Fluorescent Lights"
Thumbnail by Raquel Nuno and Karri Denise

  • No Body
    No Body

    Planned Obsolescence... you think MAN made that up??? Mother nature has been doing that for MINNELLI. Try storing apples or oranges for years on end without eating them...

  • HollywoodF1

    John DeLorean was very much against planned obsolescence, and GM consequently became against John DeLorean, When he came out with his stainless steel and fiberglass car, he designed it for long-term use. GM pulled some strings and got the FBI to set up a PR problem big enough to sink DeLorean, but not before he made a car that I still drive every day, even though it’s 40 years old.

  • Shr Sri
    Shr Sri

    I am using this video in my exam answer and crediting you along. Its an handwritten exam so cannot provide direct hyperlink.

  • dreamcrafter888

    Check out the history of the Peugeot 403... it nearly closed the company because there were too few parts sold for it... It was too reliable... (it was the last time they made that mistake)

  • adventus saxonum
    adventus saxonum

    Excellent video. Just one thing - screw fittings aren't ubiquitous. In the UK, bayonet fittings are more common, except in spotlights(which tend to use the small ES fitting).

  • Emik Zotic
    Emik Zotic

    So this is why willy wonka never released the everlasting gobstopper :(

  • Dennison J
    Dennison J

    Videos like these can inspire people to seek after better things in the world. Maybe, in the distant future, people will stop trusting corporations and seek after scientists' and engineers' advice, those who really care enough.

  • Guess my name
    Guess my name

    So this is why you can't take batteries out of phones

  • Merwyn Soares
    Merwyn Soares

    Legend says when the buld turns off the world is gonna end .

  • Jonathan

    Yo is that Alec Guinness

  • r3con woo
    r3con woo

    I bought a Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch in 2018 for the sole purpose of playing music on my earbuds while exercising without having my phone on me but now with the most recent update they want me to delete practically all my music just to make room for their new software.. The watch barely holds 100 songs as it is..

  • Elaine B
    Elaine B

    I get why things, especially things which need technology, need replaced now & then. What I'd really like to see is these companies who make things run out/ expire put the old items to good use by recycling them, because the world has only so much stuff to use before it runs out.

  • Kifter

    This channel is dumb.. all conspiracy theories are fake

  • Lucky Maheshwari
    Lucky Maheshwari

    When the title of video changes when you are halfway through it

  • Don b
    Don b

    This sort of collusion still occurs in other industries as well, and just lends itself to the argument that certain services or products we're better off receiving from the government than private industry. One of the deadliest examples I can think of is insulin. The companies that have the right to produce it collude unspoken. When one company raises the price, the others follow suit. Over the years, the price of this lifesaving drug continues to rise, and all three companies continue to track very closely with one another as far as price goes. It's a lesson all well-meaning researchers have to take to heart. Insulin wasn't discovered by R&D teams working for some biotech company, it was found by a pair of guys. They turned over the rights to it for a pittance ($1), because they understood it was a life-saving drug that needed to be made accessible. Unfortunately, the rights ended up in the hands of some very dishonorable people. At the risk of making this political (and maybe it should be)... Remember, the next time you see Joe Manchin voting against the public interest, his daughter is one of those jerkoffs that are responsible for raising the price of insulin.

  • CodexCT

    A company that made their product worse so they could sell more of it... Never heard of it

  • Djinn-1

    We should be ENCOURAGED to buy a new product because someone has made a better one. Not FORCED to buy a new product because the one we have has been designed by the manufacturer to become obsolete.

  • Milo Szecket
    Milo Szecket

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, almost like capitalism.............. _bad_ ................................

  • Cody Kochmann
    Cody Kochmann

    I do feel like you forgot to mention that little things like security make planned obsolesce kinda pointless in tech. Everything gets hacked. Building a new one is normally easier than fixing the current bad design.

  • Jake Sengele
    Jake Sengele

    Think about the amount of waste in our landfills generated by these decisions.

  • beverins

    Planned obsolescence is good for profits, but will be our undoing as a species from destroying the environment. Perhaps we desire our own obsolescence, and try to plan for it.

  • Gary G
    Gary G

    I have been using the same two hammers for over 40 years. Estwing. I think I paid $12 each. I see they sell for over $60 each now.

  • Ivanka Leonie Fuchs
    Ivanka Leonie Fuchs

    * Doesn't everyone know about das intentional substandard manufacturing of incandescent light-bulbs? We learned of this specific "Planned Obsolescence" in Secondary School World History...I'm now 33. * No, I will never purchase any American Apple products, especially NOT their iPhone...No one I know uses them. * Das "Right to Repair" seems a good idea. :-)

  • Krapula Kanava
    Krapula Kanava

    wtf u saying? its not iphone its android!!!

  • ChristianMafia

    Yeah I have a slight neurological problem and I want to break that light bulb 😒

  • hal900x

    Planned obsolescence is old news and is no secret. It's our apathy towards power that is the real story.

  • Gabe Johnson
    Gabe Johnson

    Hot take, what if.. what if! The world wasn't run solely off of currency?

  • kinsbeans

    You know what could counter these things, is posting their blueprints in the internet. Let's try creating our own so their markets go obsolete instead lol.

  • Antonio Fdez
    Antonio Fdez

    This 1900s bulb has probably 5% efficiency but yeah, it lasted 100 years wasting energy.

  • Ha1fbakedgolem

    LEDs do not last 10-50 years. I’ve had to replace so many LED bulbs it feels like they have shorter lifespan then regular incandescent bulbs.

  • James Shevnin
    James Shevnin

    Seem most of the light bulbs these days "Flicker" Why is that? Does no one remember the term "flicker rate" & the scientific mind control experiments from the 1960's? The world is upside down folks.

  • MassimoSlstr

    LED bulbs last like any other. They promise thousands of hours but then they break anyway.

  • 303ks

    It would be useful to mention that the incandescent bulbs were replaced with leds due to government mandate rather tham corporations competing in a free market

  • Francium Wave
    Francium Wave

    I am just wondering how they make iPhone Screen. So if it falls from any height the screen will crack. That requires high tech, really it is not easy to make it 😂😲

  • koopk1

    "if a rape whistle worked it would put itself out of business"

  • njs2

    false the led are designed to fail too

  • Collin P
    Collin P

    It's almost like meet the robinsons difference between eutopia and dystopia

  • Theo H.
    Theo H.

    In Germany we say "Sollbruchstelle"

  • dope devil
    dope devil

    This was an eye opening..

  • P Kelly
    P Kelly

    Not being cynical, but can they prove that the bulb at the fire station was on continuously for 120 years? The bulb is in a very exposed position, and everyone from 120 years ago is dead !

  • Milosh Rodic
    Milosh Rodic

    LEDs and fluorescent lights: is the light quality the same as incandescents? What light is more relaxing? Why don't we light fancy restaurants with fluorescent or LED bulbs? Why don't we blast LED and fluorescent bulbs at the acupuncture clinic?

  • Rob Gable
    Rob Gable

    But they don't mind replacing jobs with robots and self checkouts actively removing jobs!!!

  • Rob Gable
    Rob Gable

    And one guy sits on a pile of gold laughing at all of us for falling for it!!!!

  • Rob Gable
    Rob Gable

    The corporate overlords creating monopolies to screw the people all day long forever!!! The whole world is built on Scams and greed.

  • My guy I don't care
    My guy I don't care

    Activision did it with call of duty years ago

  • JerryS

    15:53 "So we finally reached the point of what is essentially an everlasting light bulb"... Have we really? The Chinese LED's I buy have a shorter life span than my old incandescent light bulbs.

  • Higauge

    If there is a god. He was the first. Human life... Apple's defense.... We learned it from god

  • Prakhar Shukla
    Prakhar Shukla

    stfu dude

  • Vloogle

    I suspect the move to make cellular phones with non-serviceable batteries was more of a national security measure. Terrorists cannot turn off a phone with a fixed battery, it remains in a standby status and can continue to communicate with local towers and establish triangulation, and thus location.

  • Ahmad Kmail
    Ahmad Kmail

    Planned obselonce is when a ISdowns review a new gadget .. which is no different than previous iteration .. yet calls it the best new device .. and the cycle keeps going

  • marsgizmo

    Amazing episode 👌😎

    • ThatManIsLaGOAT

      Oh hey love your videos

  • Agnirudra Chatterjee
    Agnirudra Chatterjee

    taylor swift did this in a song and shorter

  • Cyberdyne Systems: Skynet
    Cyberdyne Systems: Skynet

    I've had to replace two LED light bulbs in the last 6 months that were less than 3 years old. I think they have planned manufacturing inefficiencies.

  • Jamil Feroj
    Jamil Feroj

    My video shows a poop on his head at 14:24. Is that actually true?

  • Che Gentle
    Che Gentle

    The Government destroyed the twin towers.

  • knaptonmawson

    It's all good as long as the LED lamps don`t have a self destruct button, than we ae back square one again.

  • boom 350
    boom 350

    Why our light buld lasted 2-10 years?

  • 1990skelly

    Bastasrds love to make our life's harder for profit.

  • WiseWizard

    My most recent experience with planned obsolescence: I had to replace those little plastic corners outside of a window, they hold a framed mosquito net. They just broke off. And I thought to myself - "Why they didn't make everything that they make out of plastic in steel? That way one set of objects will last a generation and you will never need to buy a certain object, moreover - you could easily melt old objects and create new." And then it clicked - money.

  • Jen McConnell
    Jen McConnell

    capitalism sucks

  • Adrian Lucas
    Adrian Lucas

    I blame society on it, it is the fault of capitalism. Our doings are a waste of resources, that will bite our back as soon as we run out of oil.

  • Xeneon341

    To those who say planned obsolescence is a good thing, think about what else you could have spent with the money you used to replace your old item. And the number of jobs and new lines of industries that could have been created with each incremental addition of new funds towards it and away from everything else. Sure, some will lose their jobs but this is a fact of life. This is the cost of innovation. After all, nobody complains about how the advent of calculators or computers displaced so many abacus wood-making jobs. Why would newer, longer-lasting light bulbs be any different?

  • Gon Kong
    Gon Kong

    Capitalism at it finest.

  • machazthe gamer
    machazthe gamer

    How much are consumers willing to pay to keep the light bulb companies capable of paying their employees, make a happy profit, push their R and D, comply woth all safety laws.... Answer: far much higher than the current prices

  • Stoney's Dead
    Stoney's Dead

    The most evil thing ever created- the one thing that has caused more death, suffering, and destruction than any other by far- the almighty, all consuming, pursuit of money. It totally hijacks and ruins endeavors like trying to educate ppl or heal the sick- these are institutions that have their purpose already built in from the start- the main purpose of medicine is to heal, the main purpose of education is to educate- right? Nope- not in this country, the main purpose of any hospital or college is to make more profits, more money- above everything else, including educating or healing the sick. It leads to unbelievably stupid and unproductive practices like planned obsolescence and the subprime loan market- which in turn lead to suffering in ppl's lives. But no one cares because everyone is too busy, too distracted, it's easier to just punch your card and play the game- like a good slave- so that's what the majority of us do. Most pl have no idea why the dollar is worth a buck anyway- it's because it will buy one dollar's worth of sweet oil from the exchange which only accepts US dollars. that's right- every country on earth has to buy US currency in order to purchase oil from the exchange, it's the only currency accepted- and the United States enforces that with force when necessary. Why? Because the day other currencies are accepted the US dollar is worthless- it's a fiat currency that's only backed by ppl's confidence that it will continue to be the only currency accepted and therefore remain valuable. Think about that- this means the day the world no longer needs or uses oil- the US dollar is worthless. This is why it's so often called the "petrol dollar". On top of that, every dollar created is created with interest attached- which means there can never be enough money in circulation to pay off all debts- simply not enough money to do it. There's always more debt than there is dollars- which means anytime the music stops and everyone has to sit down- someone is gonna be left without a chair. That's right- the game is rigged, there has to be a loser- it's built into the system. Whoever it ends up being we'll all point our fingers at them and say they were lazy and label them the "loser"- but the reality is it had to be someone, could of been you just as easily as it was them.

  • Gideon Stowell
    Gideon Stowell

    Printers. The worst culprit in my opinion

  • Marcitus Tangens
    Marcitus Tangens

    remember this when ordering something with amazon prime. the coffee machine that is delivered 2 days earlier than with regular shipping will presumably break 2 days earlier.

  • Ma ks
    Ma ks

    capitalism breeds innovation

    • Ma ks
      Ma ks

      @Adrian Lucas did you watch the video???

    • Adrian Lucas
      Adrian Lucas

      Competition breeds innovation but not capitalism

  • Omar Yassin
    Omar Yassin

    If companies went bankrupted, they won't invent better products. So let them steel unless it's too bad. But they have to make profit, otherwise they will not have a motive to make more advanced and functional products for future.

  • trep53

    Very interesting topic, planned obsolescence + cartels. Sticking to the beginning of light bulbs, people previously used candles, oil or natural gas to add light where needed but are all stinky and sooty. Not to mention dangerous. They made or bought candles using animal fat/oil or beeswax and once used they were gone. Along comes electric lights and wow what an improvement. Fast forward to LED lights wow I can’t imagine being stuck using that old lamp from Edison’s days until now. Old technology has its place and still exists in hand tools and porch swings for instance. But we are going through resources like rare metals and oil for plastic faster than killing sperm whales for lamp oil. I don’t know the answer for this. Thanks for this video.

  • Brian Lewis
    Brian Lewis

    I recommend investigating the Dubai LED light. It seems most LED lights are overdriven which shortens their LE. The tradition continues!

  • MrSummitville

    LED bulbs CAN last forever, but many have not, and many more will not ...

  • Northern Fox Traveler
    Northern Fox Traveler

    I've had plenty of LED bulbs that never made it through 6 months. At a cost of 10 times the incandescent bulb.

  • jason s
    jason s

    Ok, great video. Except, I hope that ending was meant to be sarcastic - sounded sincere.

  • Gloria Roma - San Diego Real Estate Agent
    Gloria Roma - San Diego Real Estate Agent

    Can you say “Price Fixing” ?

  • Sanket Jadhav
    Sanket Jadhav

    Apple sucks!

  • Brendan Black
    Brendan Black

    Great video!

  • M.Sorrenti

    buy poocoin

  • UniversalPotentate

    This is solved with a Universal Living Income and in-home 3D printing. The problem is economic and it has to be solved there. Work is no longer as necessary and workers defending their jobs is ridiculous. Simply give everyone a LIVING income (not a basic income) and that is solved. The 3D printing must come with in-home recycling. This would bankrupt most industries, especially shipping as goods would travel over an internet of things and people’s trash would be used to print the new product. The “right to repair” is a law which can be changed or loopholed through, as corporations do. Making real structural changes, like living income and in-home recycling and printing, would solve these issues once and for all!

  • mouloud boukhalfa
    mouloud boukhalfa

    It is totally faisable for inventions to last twice as much as they are supposed to last, but then again there's no money to be made!

  • Marcos Cruz
    Marcos Cruz

    There are environmental issues with the obsolescence too, it creates more garbage and pollution.

  • Calvin Wong
    Calvin Wong

    the greediness of capitalist stopped people to pursuits for the best .

    • Calvin Wong
      Calvin Wong

      @MrSummitville True!!!

    • MrSummitville

      There is greed in capitalism, socialism and communism because greed is a bad characteristic of a PERSON ...

  • Kulfyr3

    This rethoric that posits planned obsolesence as a good thing just because it gets the economy going is dangerous. It's a parallel to the window paradox. If a window breaks, you'd never call it a good thing, but that's exactly what this is. The repairman gets a job, and it causes money to circulate, just like when the worker gets hired to produce stockings to replace the old, torn ones, but surely anyone can see that it would be better for both the repairman and the window's owner if the money and work was used to install a new window instead.

    • Kulfyr3

      @MrSummitville Yeah, exactly. It's the same thing as war profiteering. No value is being created, it's just moved from the people to the profiteers.

    • MrSummitville

      But if windows were unbreakable then that would be less production for the window manufacturing industry. Planned obsolescence only causes the consumers to suffer = higher cost-of-living. While, the owner of the window manufacturing business has a much higher income. It is transfer of wealth scheme - from the many, to the one ...

  • Teitur Ardal Rosengren
    Teitur Ardal Rosengren

    LED bulbs break faster than my tungsten and carbon bulbs


    Bulb be like: Back in my day, the sun was way more brighter

    • Roompa Mahato
      Roompa Mahato

      Actually, it's reverse. Temperatures are soaring high right now than what it was 50 years earlier.

  • Leon

    love your videos

  • Trashloot

    Seeing the old card cruise around and over those slopes (12:07) really impressed me. I think my dads car can't handle some of this terrain. Always envisioned those old cars to be super flimsy.

  • Albert-Stefan Stancu
    Albert-Stefan Stancu

    Superb video

  • Abby Surname
    Abby Surname

    again and again and again... i'm tired of the feeling we could create a world, where everything is fine and everybody is happy, but we don't because: money and greed.

  • Van Allen
    Van Allen

    Same thing with rubber sole shoes before and during WW2 most shoes last for 20 to 40 years and you can inherit your grandad shoes or your dad shoes in a pristine condition but not today because rubber makers agreed to put early expiry date on rubber that will only last for 1 year and 6 months then when rubber is expired it's will pop and become dust. For them it's a good business but not for us.

  • divx

    this is the best of veritasium

  • Evarate

    a great video; thank you

  • Pancak3Mix

    Oh my God you advertising your show appearance then using it as a segue into your sponsor because it's only on Netflix in the UK is the most evil yet genius sponsorship I've EVER SEEN

  • Man Kind
    Man Kind

    Wow, can you find out why we haven't been back to the moon in so long? That always baffles me.

    • Man Kind
      Man Kind

      @MrSummitville That too but if going to the moon was becoming routine decades ago and we want to go back now, why isn't our new technology capable of getting there and back anymore?

    • MrSummitville

      WHY do we need to spend a small fortune to go the moon, just to collect more rocks? If you pay for it, there are astronauts that will go ...

  • Chronos King
    Chronos King

    14:38 “Really? Uhuhh....” -me watching on my iPhone 6s

  • Sangria Biscus
    Sangria Biscus

    Fluorescent bulbs cost more and burn out faster than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs have mercury.

  • GM J
    GM J

    You didn’t answer how other companies (without legal authority) could enforce the payment of a fine and what would be the motivation of a company joining this packt.

    • Adrian Lucas
      Adrian Lucas


  • SiM Gam
    SiM Gam

    Listen world , this is how capitalism destroyed the earth , capitalism is good for economy but very bad for the nature and as consumer also

    • MrSummitville

      Collusion to implement "planned obsolescence" is not capitalism ...

  • Jerry Bender
    Jerry Bender

    You were not wrong .sort of u were just wrong but no worries i felt the same way as u. But its called planned obsolesence a design error introduced into the manufacturing process to maximise profit thru replacement purchases.

    • Jerry Bender
      Jerry Bender

      Good example was Delorean who was set up as a coke dealer because his cars didnt need paintn never rusted

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