planned obsolescence

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planned obsolescence

the deliberate introduction of regular changes in the design of consumer products with the aim of creating new demand by making earlier versions of a product appear outmoded. The fact that many products are no longer built to last, and often cannot be repaired, is sometimes seen as a further part of the same process. As well as being a way of improving the commercial returns of individual firms, the technique has been seen by some as a valuable way of keeping the overall capitalist economy buoyant. For others (e.g. Packard, 1957) such artificially built-in obsolescence is socially wasteful, and manipulates consumer need. Nowadays it is also seen as environmentally shortsighted, contributing to the depletion of resources and environmental pollution.
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Against this background, this paper challenges the effectiveness of bans on built-in obsolescence as responses to increasing replacement rates of consumer goods and directs attention to possible misuses of the circular economy idea.
This holds also true for extreme cases such as built-in obsolescence or a consumer's desire for the new.
The French decree is part of a wider movement against planned and built-in obsolescence across the EU.