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Programmed obsolescence: The immortal bulb

It is, without a doubt, the most veteran (and famous) light bulb in the world. The immortal bulb. It has been shining almost with no interruptions since 1901. It is a 60-watt, carbon-filament bulb installed in Livermore, California’s No. 6 firehouse.

Obsolescence. Bulb

The inmortal Bulb at Livermore Firehouse. Source: The bulb webcam

It even has it´s own webpage, including a web cam which shows the bulb 365 days a year.

The Livermore bulb is already an icon of programmed obsolescence , which corporations say they use to deliberately manufacture products with a limited life, to maintain their production.

The planned obsolescence of industrial electrical products is very old. Its creator was Thomas Edison. He designed the bulbs so that they melted periodically and refused to investigate their repair or refinement.

It is believed that the origin dates back to 1932, when Bernard London proposed ending the Great Depression by profiting at the expense of society through planned and enforced obsolescence by law (though never carried out) . It was not necessary because the war came and then it was no longer necessary to build an artificial economy because the essential economy had to be rebuilt.

The vicious cycle of obsolescence

American engineer and sociologist Michael Bulb has been studying the phenomenon of obsolescence for decades. According to him, the first world has no longer needs to cover and innovation is basically non-essential: “ The term value added reveals itself “.

It’s mostly intrinsic rather than programmed obsolescence and society is also immersed in it unconsciously because it has grown in those values.“, states Bulb.

The sociologist explained that the current crisis, obsolescence, social values ​​and projections of future inequality and unemployment are all faces of the same coin, a whiting that bites its tail.

The solution? Michael believes that only a War or catastrophe would solve it in the short term. In the medium term it points to an innovation of an essential nature and in the long term it thinks that the only solution would be to reorient the economy to the development of the First World.

“But I do not think any of this will occur spontaneously under current conditions. I rather think that the system will inevitably collapse and then make one of the options open”, said Bulb.

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