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.