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Planned Obsolescence:
What In The World Does That Mean?

Most people have not heard the term "Planned Obsolescence", but they have heard the phrase "they don't make things like they use to". And you know what? It's absolutely true. And it's 100% on purpose.

Manufacturers have a very specific reasons to make things that are made to be replaced quickly: the more often they break, wear out, or become obsolete the more often you'll come back to buy more. Seems counterintuitive, doesn't it? That we would buy something again once we see it's cheaply made and won't last?

But that's actually part of the plan. As consumers we've been conditioned to accept cheaply made products, and sold on the value of single-use throwaway items, until we willing throwaway our own hard-earned dough. This cycle relies on a thriving economy, people who are working a lot, making enough disposable income, and who can afford to ignore their bottom line a little bit. Kinda like a slow bleed.

Planned Obsolescence, via SustainableBabySteps.com

But it's not just a slow economy that suffers under this model of planned obsolescence; our health and the health of the environment suffers too. We create waste, we usher in toxins and pollution with its creation, and then we shuffle it off to another location so we don't have to deal with it. Yet. Except after 50 odd (very odd) years of this cycle, it's starting to catch up. We're finally seeing the effects of chemicals, such as BPA, we're encountering our first waste management problems (while still not worrying that we have "enough space for [only] decades to come", and we're creating such a pollution burden on the environment that is still barely getting attention. (Click here to read facts and figures on this topics.)

Is any of this helping us create a life worth sustaining?

If you're a visual learner, or you just want to go a bit more in-depth on this concept, check out this great illustrative video from StoryofStuff.org. (And check out their website for more videos too!)

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