This is why we can't have nice things

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28 dagar sedan

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

member57 14 minuter sedan
Keeping lights on longer applies to long tube fluorescent lights, leaving them on for greater than 3 hours extends their lifespan. If you turn them off and on frequently the $30+ dollar tubes die much faster. I added LED lighting in addition to my fluorescent lights in my shop and use the LEDs for short uses. The added bonus is I get great lighting when I need it with both types illuminating my shop. I also get about the same lighting with each system, yet only use around 100 watts for LEDs vs nearly 800+ watts for the fluorescent lights.
member57 23 minuter sedan
I find consumerism as funny. I watch people go through their lives constantly striving to have the latest & greatest things. From cars to watches to TVs. I jumped off the wagon years ago. I prefer used cars and shop thrift stores and pawn shops. I also repair the unrepairable. Not that I am poor, I hate waste. I am happy to drive a luxury SUV that the new owner took a $30k depreciation on, I appreciate their sacrifice. 😂 I find fashion particularly funny. I still wear the same "fashion" I did in high school 30 years ago, t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. It just all seems futile to chase after the Jones's. With this mindset, I own my home, no mortgage, with several acres and own two nice 4-5 year old vehicles with no car payment. I could own a bigger, newer and extravagant home. I choose not too.
M Bx
M Bx Timme sedan
Cool video. I have a bulb in use that is about 110 jears old and all that time in use in a basement here in Austria. It survived everything from lightnig strike to a malfunction of the grid that destroyed almost all electrical devices and lights in the house.... impressive what engineering can do if the goal is a durable product! And this bulb is on just ocasionally and survives the harsh Austrian weather (-25 to +35 Celsius)
Azonic Timme sedan
Capitslism. The problem is market based Capitalism.
Eduardo Timme sedan
1:20 it's not ridiculous, its the so-called free market. If you make an everlasting light bulb it will be more expensive than a programmed-not-to-last light bulb. Higher costs, you're out of the market! That's what happened to the guy who created this lamp.
Ascat 2 timmar sedan
PogU good video
Wojtuz 2 timmar sedan
Great video, but can someon explain to me, what made "small companies" so reliant on the cartel. Couldn't they just make good light bulbs without the fine? Why were they fined in the first place. Which "law" made them pay?
Molnár Robi
Molnár Robi 2 timmar sedan
we watched a documentary about this topic back in 6th/7th grade and it left a really big impact on my life. go open source, jailbreak, never pay for subscriptions and never buy desktop SOCs because they can be slowed down with a firmware update forever (also it's just companies trying to cheap out on silicon)
barutaji 2 timmar sedan
We may say socialism does not work, but we gotta admit that capitalism doesn't either. It creates a lot of internal inconsistencies, like this one. Also, no one wants to pay workers, but the system needs workers with money to consume. Technology becomes a threat to work, and not a help to humanity. Also we can have those strange bubbles where we have at the same time excess of production coupled with loss of jobs. The market does not invest in infraestructure and research, since it is not a good business and so it need structures outside the market logic of organizing resources (like the government) to make it and then steal it by a small price afterwards. I could go on and on. The market is an irrational mess.
kil ler
kil ler 3 timmar sedan
Than i think human can live long if human doctors allow. We are so greedy we are not halp each others that why country's are fighting each other's for greed. 😕
Syed Anas
Syed Anas 3 timmar sedan
Vantahawk 3 timmar sedan
I feel like there was a much more crucial point of critique regarding capitalism in here that got lost (not that I expected it). Afterall no LED bulb or any other technological improvement is free of planned/dynamic obsolesence (which is why it rings so hollow that the video ended on that note). The proposed policy in Europe is ofc good but also just _proposed_ . And it is going to have to overcome a whirlwind of corporate resistance (lobbying, corruption, propaganda, capital leverage, etc.) in order to get anywhere. Is the general point not, that everyone can clearly see how irrational planned obsolesence is for consumers and how destructive it is to our planet - and yet we live in a system that is destined to reproduce it in various ways all over the economy? Isn't that curious?
Cyber Ghost 404
Cyber Ghost 404 3 timmar sedan
very informative Thanks Elon😆 seriously it's good
Camron 3 timmar sedan
Everything’s nice to me
Munzir Rafik
Munzir Rafik 3 timmar sedan
Fuhq Ewe
Fuhq Ewe 3 timmar sedan
So it was a matter of profit over people. We kept making better bulbs because it was beneficial for all the people. Then we made them too good, some greedy members of our species monopolized the market and began producing just-good-enough-bulbs.
Elyas Wasiqi
Elyas Wasiqi 4 timmar sedan
There is a movement against greedy malpractices of tech corporations called right to repair, but the nicest way explained is by veritasium: not confrontational and very informative.
Tim Godthardt
Tim Godthardt 4 timmar sedan
It should be noted that in terms of lumens per watt, less lifetime generally means higher energy efficiency. This is why the move to fewer hours was supported by engineers that had an interest in energy efficiency. But the managers embraced it because it also meant higher profits. In general: longer lifespan means lower brightness and/or higher power draw. As you can see in the lightbulb at 06:18 it is very dim, and I assure you it still draws a LOT of energy. Part of that is because to reach a longer lifespan you need a thicker wire, but a thicker wire requires more power to make it glow. And to top it off it also means MUCH more heat being produced, because of how inefficient the tech was in the first place. So part of that 1000h move was to find a good point between resource costs of powering all these bulbs and the resource cost in replacing them. This is also why anti-trust agencies didn't act on it back in the day. At least that is how the story goes. I'd like for someone to properly test it... but nobody ever mentions the energy efficiency aspect in the first place.
Laurence Kim
Laurence Kim 4 timmar sedan
The problem is people trying to look cool by showing off the stupid crap they buy.
Laurence Kim
Laurence Kim 4 timmar sedan
i miss my iphone 7
cricketol 5 timmar sedan
information if the new wave of neo-fascism stop people for having the real information and they will always pay for proof of work
cricketol 5 timmar sedan
till that ending, i can agree with led bulbs die just as fast now as the incandescent from the past. There is no good way to make things last if there's money to be made.
John Warring
John Warring 5 timmar sedan
Maybe look into Meyer's water car or John Hutchinson. And not just "googling it". Look into it.
BRIAN MCDONALD 5 timmar sedan
Here from x XqcL
Moop Con
Moop Con 5 timmar sedan
Capitalism does not breed innovation.
Rockport1911 5 timmar sedan
Linus send me :) Views are only gonna go up...
Kevin is sans undertale
Kevin is sans undertale 5 timmar sedan
LKNANML 6 timmar sedan
Millions of fathers around the world have one eye twitching because of that light bulb being on so long. Right behind messing with the thermostat leaving a light on in the house drove my father into an OCD frenzy. Leaving the fridge door open longer than 20 seconds comes next. "Open the door, grab what you want and close the door damnit". "The door is not a window and I don't have xray vision dad. I didn't come to the fridge with detailed mission plans." FYI. Opening the door for a second then closing it then opening it then closing it...etc Drove him nuts........ Until he came up with "you are going to burn out that light so stop it". Good times.. Good times.
LIBERATION 6 timmar sedan
Jan Markes Roots
Jan Markes Roots 6 timmar sedan
Good video, making a comment for algorithms
unknown 7 timmar sedan
Derek looking directly into lightbulbs irks me.
hawadingin 7 timmar sedan
The questions I asked to my dad has been answered by watching this video. Thanks
R K 7 timmar sedan
Imagine their contribution to global waste
Aussie Gardener
Aussie Gardener 7 timmar sedan
Just subbed ... Love your content!
Hu wah
Hu wah 8 timmar sedan
I Learned a lot wow
Just Breathe
Just Breathe 8 timmar sedan
RICK ROLLED{TRUTH} 8 timmar sedan
Ꭱite 8 timmar sedan
Ꭱite 8 timmar sedan
Phineas 9 timmar sedan
Our current system of fineing companies is inadiquate. It should be illigal for large companies to settle out of court, and whatever money the company made due to the illigal act should be confiscated on top of a fine that comprises a minimum of 15% of the companies total revinue. This money should then be evenly redistributed amongst those affexted by the illigal action.
Jesse Slater
Jesse Slater 9 timmar sedan
Don't forget about the waste and pollution created by planned obsolescence. And don't think that LED bulbs are any better as far as lifespan, the circuit boards are designed to burn out after a couple of years so you gotta buy new ones. You might look into automotive fuel consumption rates. The way cars and trucks are built and designed now they could easily get 50-75mph but they don't because they don't have to. Imagine how much pollution could be lessened if all cars lasted for at least 300K miles and averaged 75mph. It's easily achievable but it's not profitable to the people that own the gas and automobile companies. The paint color thing was interesting, I didn't know that.
Joe Cool
Joe Cool 9 timmar sedan
I'm seeing lots of comments of people saying communism is the answer in a non-joking fashion. Very concerning
Florky Man
Florky Man 9 timmar sedan
You didn't talk about the light bulbs out of Dubai.
Pervasive Doubt
Pervasive Doubt 10 timmar sedan
A company that needs to invest a heavy amount wants as much reward as possible and they shouldn’t invest where they won’t get a good return, so a natural inclination will be to use planned obsolescence. However, competition forces will compel other companies to compete with better products. If a market has healthy competition, (which many don’t) firms can reach an equilibrium to balance value for the company and value for the consumer
Shashwat Agrawal
Shashwat Agrawal 10 timmar sedan
Look at the new iMacs for examples ring some bell? no?.. they coloured them again
Josh8far 10 timmar sedan
This video oddly matches a lot of what was said by Sally Helm on NPRs Throughline podcast. I’m not saying there is plagiarism, but it is peculiar how the same three examples were used in this video as in that podcast.
Edward Cullen
Edward Cullen 10 timmar sedan
Adzigari 10 timmar sedan
Hi, welcome to capitalism.
HeavyWater1931 10 timmar sedan
Technocracy Inc. has been pointing this out since the Great Depression almost a hundred years ago
john zuijdveld
john zuijdveld 10 timmar sedan
This is very old news! (I haven't watched it all) it's called planned obsolescence, meaning that products are deliberately designed to fail long before they would've if it had been designed to last! This IS capitalism in action, you vote for it's applications whenever you install conservative/nationalist govts because that is why conservatism was invented! to keep the rich rich and the workers IE: 99% of ALL ppl. on the planet in borderline poverty. This keeps labor costs from rising because ppl. become desperate for jobs, very simple strategy but these days esp. in the US. (due to conservative fearmongering about socialism/communism since the 1950's, YES you ppl. don't learn!) ppl. seem to think conservatives care for ppl. IE: Regan the pretender and now Trump the liar! During the 1980's-90's the conservatives who had much power/influence over economists(Reagan/Thatcher) promoted 'trickle down economics' meaning if the rich got richer so w'ld the poor! That was 40yrs ago and even 25yrs ago it had already been shown NOTEVER to have worked! except for about 5 yrs in the US. To this day the conservatives cling to this BS ideology and it is why your incomes have increased only by 40% odd in 40yrs while corperate wealth has increased 400%. . . SO I hope you love your poverty! keep voting the Reps. the Libs. and the Nat's. into power for they'll ensure you keep getting what YOU deserve! The 'right to repair?' what a JOKE! how about making sure that what you buy will last! demand a higher price for the product, allowing higher wages for workers and ensure repairs are possible. Sure less labor will be needed that can then be diverted to aged care, healthcare, social housing, mental heath, tourism, entertainment, renewables, recycling, infrastructure and hospitality industries that ppl. will be able to enjoy due to higher incomes and more free time. How about before that, we close the loopholes that allow the Mega-rich corporations, mining, banking, and industrial interests ALL! from hiding moneys that they should be taxed on in 'Tax Havens' around the world. This is simply companies STEALING from the ppl. of nations that they work and benefit from! Conservative govts. globally actively suppress moves by any to curtail these practices, or to investigate the insurance and banking industries globally!
stellar 11 timmar sedan
14:07 whats wrong with a new iPhone every year? Imagine if we were still stuck with the first iPhone (2007) because Apple didnt want to make any newer phones that made it obsolete. Im not defending Apple, i think purposely slowing down older models, designing them to fail, and making them irreparable when they do fail is planned obsolescence and bad. But do new styles and colors make iPhones obsolete? You can just buy a case. Apple makes millions of iPhones each year, why should they all look identical? It really doesnt matter if the edges are rounded or squared off, thats why Apple can make it both ways without ruining its quality. Yes improvements year to year are marginal but most people aren’t upgrading every single year. Apple didn’t make the iPhone X in 2017 for the people who just bought an iPhone 7 in 2016. They made it for the people who wanted a new phone in 2017, who probably had their phone for 3-6 years already. Imagine if Apple instead released iPhones on a 4-year cycle, so they jumped from iPhone 6S (2015) to iPhone 11 (2019). Someone buying a new phone in 2018 could’ve gotten an iPhone XS, but instead they have to buy a phone thats already 3 years old or wait a whole nother year for the new one? By not making an iPhone XS, they are holding back tech from consumers to force them to buy an outdated phone thats gonna be replaced soon. I’d rather they make marginal improvements every year because that means that the next phone won’t make the previous model obsolete, whereas major changes will. I think a big reason why Apple makes marginal improvements every year is because its easier than relearning a totally new phone. Its not as simple as “why cant Apple just put every planned feature in the next iPhone so we dont have to keep waiting for the next one?” It takes time to adopt new tech so they release it gradually. Not just for the people purchasing the phones, but also for the companies supplying the materials, the companies that manufacture the parts, the people that create services using the tech, and building the infrastructure to support the technology. Society adapts to an evolving smartphone and in return, smartphones have to adapt to an evolving society. For example, Apple used to boast that iPhone size was perfect because you could reach every corner of the screen with your thumb, but as people started doing more things on their phones, they needed more room so larger screens became more ideal. As smartphones change how we live our lives, the ideal smartphone also changes so Apple can’t make a final “best” iPhone.
Blake Reidy
Blake Reidy 11 timmar sedan
I think that having better products definitely matter. One big issue is something that Apple just did a few days ago. They released their new phone in purple for no reason. Also many of their products barely differ each model that is why so many people are making a smarter investment buying every other generation. But overall I think the video is using apple as an example because their idiotic repair logic.
NicCrimson 12 timmar sedan
This is why I like to make my own things.
Happy Slappy
Happy Slappy 12 timmar sedan
Corporates are scum.
indyjons321 12 timmar sedan
They even killed Nicola Tesla over planned obsolescence.
Faisal 13 timmar sedan
I think this is the most important video I ever watch on youtube.
ted william
ted william 13 timmar sedan
Just move to india. They rebuild, refurbish ,reuse, recycle, recreate, revamp, re everything to everything
Naamã dos Santos Silva
Naamã dos Santos Silva 13 timmar sedan
Planned obsolescence is similar to Keynesian economics.Both are wrong and destroy the living standards of the poorer people.
hasan muttaqin
hasan muttaqin 13 timmar sedan
now i know why iphone doesn't have charger
Scudmaster11 14 timmar sedan
I hate LED lighting... no they aren't light bulbs ... get it right
DaddyBigMad 14 timmar sedan
this is the exact same reason we will NEVER find a cure for cancer.
NaitNait 14 timmar sedan
An important historical context before the 1980s and 1990s is the idea m Earth was infinite. Resources were not viewed as limited, there were always places for new landfills. Today we see Earth very much as finite.
Daehawk 14 timmar sedan
Simply wouldnt pay that fine.
DD Hamilton
DD Hamilton 15 timmar sedan
2 points: (1)energy emitted of a blackbody at 2800C is not one half that of the Sun at 5600C. (2) these companies are thus responsible for the enormous amount of waste that has been produced. Thus they should foot the bill for the cleanup. Also, how can a light bulb be on continuously for 100+ yrs when the firehouse is only decades old.
Jeffrey Bauer
Jeffrey Bauer 15 timmar sedan
This video is brilliant. It explains why my vehicle does not last as long as it should.
Kay Guidry
Kay Guidry 15 timmar sedan
SEcycle would not let me subscribe
Jason Burke
Jason Burke 15 timmar sedan
I replaced all light bulbs in my house to LED bulbs about 7 years ago, and I've already replaced at least 6 of them. The dream of an everlasting bulb, is still a dream, planned obsolescence will never go away!
Carl-Johan Wulf
Carl-Johan Wulf 15 timmar sedan
Who were issuing fines? Can companies give out fines? Issit within their legal right?
Steve O
Steve O 15 timmar sedan
Dude.... this makes me absolutely angry. What in the actual hell are we doing? So much greed!
M McKinley
M McKinley 16 timmar sedan
There is a whole type of engineering dedicated to it called absolence engineering
A 16 timmar sedan
There used to be hydro powered trollies along every river up and down the East Coast of the usa. Henry Ford conspired with the then president (sorry I forgot who) and they tore them up, built cars and highways. Look for the book, "the real history of the usa ".
A 16 timmar sedan
This really pisses me off!!
Jim Feig
Jim Feig 16 timmar sedan
Google throttles Pixel phones via updates.
Adam Mcgrath
Adam Mcgrath 16 timmar sedan
Oooooook. You got another sub. Awesome video brother. Well done
Dr_1776 17 timmar sedan
I wonder who the person was that screwed in the old light bulb
sti rumble
sti rumble 17 timmar sedan
Edison stole the invention from Sir Joseph Swan. Edison just commercialized it.
itsnotwhatyouthink1 17 timmar sedan
This guy thought that companies wont sell a inferior product to make more money......? No wonder he is wearing two masks....? why not wear 10 masks..? If it dont make dollars it dont make sense..
Dylan White
Dylan White 17 timmar sedan
Battery gate is rather bs
USMCSKY DeathbyZombiez
USMCSKY DeathbyZombiez 18 timmar sedan
No money in curing diseases either. I know very few doctors who go beyond treating symptoms. Pharmaceutical companies would hate it.
ConstantBit9 18 timmar sedan
So in layman's terms, we can't have nice things due to greedy CEOs
Marcus Milligan
Marcus Milligan 15 timmar sedan
If you wanna know why you can't have nice things look at my playlist and save it
Marcus Milligan
Marcus Milligan 15 timmar sedan
And in other words, we are serfs
Alexander Crafter
Alexander Crafter 18 timmar sedan
Applecrow 18 timmar sedan
There is a good 'How many Cartels does it take to screw up a light bulb' joke somewhere in here.
steve lawrence
steve lawrence 18 timmar sedan
Nice vid sir.
Stanimir Rankovski
Stanimir Rankovski 19 timmar sedan
Nope... It is absolutely the same for LED bulbs.
Grumpy. Com
Grumpy. Com 19 timmar sedan
Great article, but that light bulb at the start in not in a 120 year old building. That building looks to be about 50 or 60 years old. How has the bulb been on continuously for 120 years?
E942 19 timmar sedan
So capitalism is the machine we have to rage against... as always. At least greedy capitalism which makes things worse to support a small amount of people.
lunzie01 19 timmar sedan
Ever hear of Edward Bernays? Watch "Century of the Self" by Adam Curtis. Bernays is the "father of marketing" (or propaganda).
Lulu J
Lulu J 19 timmar sedan
Are there still companies that dont do this?
Brian Bell
Brian Bell 19 timmar sedan
LED -10 year life span.? Not a chance. (LED engineered obsolescence with poor circuitry). Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) seems to be the best Choice overall.
mathIsART 2
mathIsART 2 19 timmar sedan
The term "conspiracy theory" was introduced by the CIA to discredit truth and hide facts.
Don Carlin
Don Carlin 20 timmar sedan
To be fair, that bulb featured in the beginning looked like it was very dim, and simple physics means if a metal is heated more, it's going to melt and burn out faster, and reverse is true.
Henk Smit
Henk Smit 20 timmar sedan
When money is involved, no one can be trusted. Certainly not the large companies. Earning money today is: how do I get someone else into it. And that programmed wear and tear is a shame and depletes the earth super fast and is extremely harmful to the third world in particular. But the reasoning is ..... what do I care if it only makes me rich when the whole world collapses. Money makes blind and unscrupulous and greedy
Jeremy Huddleston
Jeremy Huddleston 20 timmar sedan
...and people say “planned obsolescence” is a myth. Yet this video proves it has happened in the least once
ccc310 20 timmar sedan
The only thing we aren't running out of at this point is greed.
Joe 20 timmar sedan
Please please please do a follow up video helping out Louis Rossmann’s right to repair campaign! He’s fighting the good fight, and needs all the help he can
Антон Андреев
Антон Андреев 20 timmar sedan
Too bad some video streaming platforms also block payment methods from another country...
Pasan Jayaweera
Pasan Jayaweera 20 timmar sedan
Ah it sounds like something edison would do, oh wait he actually did it. Classic edison
NightOwl Games
NightOwl Games 20 timmar sedan
they do the same thing with phones
Công Huy Lê
Công Huy Lê 21 timme sedan
I’m here for the Taylor Swift reference
Lucas Chase
Lucas Chase 21 timme sedan
Pretty sure the planned obsolescence of LED bulbs is already underway. I've had way too many LED bulbs die way earlier than I would ever expect.
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