Something that has been at the back of our minds for years; do the things you own intentionally break down after a set period of time? Did that DVD player you just bought have a destruction time tuned to December 24th, 2004? Are certain parts of your car designed to tear down after a couple of years? Do manufacturers deliberately create products to not last long, so you’d have to buy a new one, thus increasing profits? This is called planned obsolescence, and it’s very real.

There’s a page I stumbled upon, via SimpleBits, that delves into the matter, and it’s interesting reading. Here’s a sample to get you started:

“In an editorial in Design News toward the end of the fifties, E. S. Safford asked whether engineers should resist the philosophy of planned obsolescence if their management commissioned a ‘short-term product’ and argued that they should not: “Planned existence spans of product may well become one of the greatest economic boosts to the American economy since the origination of time payments.” What was required, he argued was “a new look at old engineering ethics”. Instead of trying to build the best, the lightest, the fastest and the cheapest, engineers should be able to apply their skills to building shoddy articles that would fall apart after a short amount of time, all in the interests of the market.”

Knowledge is power.