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Planned Obsolescence is the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand. As a magazine for advertisers succinctly puts it: The article that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business   and a tragedy for the modern growth society which relies on an ever-accelerating cycle of production, consumption and throwing away.


The Light Bulb Conspiracy combines investigative research and rare archive footage to trace the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel, set up expressly to limit the life span of one product, to present-day stories involving cutting edge electronics and the growing spirit of resistance amongst ordinary consumers.

Does the ever-lasting light bulb really exist? How can a computer chip be used to cut short the life span of a product? Did Planned Obsolescence contribute to the end of the Great Depression? How did a ground-breaking court case help to extend the life span of the iPod?


This film travels to France, Germany, Spain and the US to find witnesses of a business practice which has become the basis of the modern economy, and brings back disquieting pictures from Africa where discarded electronics are piling up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste.


Economists and environmentalists believe that the growth society as we know it is unsustainable in the long run and that Planned Obsolescence needs to become a thing of the past, as it is impossible to combine the limitless consumption of resources with a finite planet. But what are the alternatives?


The Light Bulb Conspiracy offers thought-provoking analysis by thinkers working on ways of saving both the economy and the environment, and presents hands-on stories showing entrepreneurs putting new business models into practice. 


AKA    Prêt à jeter

           Comprar, llençar, comprar

           Comprar, tirar, comprar


Documentary Film 74' | 2010


A film by Cosima Dannoritzer

Director of Photography Marc Martinez Sarrado


Produced by Televisió de Catalunya, Media 3.14, Article Z, Arte, TVE

In collaboration with NRK, Tore Tomter, Carina Bordevich, RTBF, Claire Colart, SBS-TV Australia, Mark Atkins, Andrew Golding, TG4, Micheal O Meallaigh, Télévision Suisse Romande (TSR), Unité des Films Documentaires, Irène Challand / Gaspard Lamunière, YLE, Jenny Westergård.
With support of Programme MEDIA Plus de la Communauté Européenne.

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