Planned obsolescence

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Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time. The rationale behind the strategy is to generate sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases (referred to as "shortening the replacement cycle").


  • The application of planned obsolescence to thought itself has the same merit as its application to consumer goods; the new is not only shoddier than the old, it fuels an obsolete social system that staves off its replacement by manufacturing the illusion that it is perpetually new.
  • By fashion and built-in obsolescence the economies of machine production, instead of producing leisure and durable wealth, are duly cancelled out by the mandatory consumption on an even larger scale.
  • If you can not repair it, you don't own it.
    • Bas van Abel, Dutch electrical engineer, designer and co-founder of mobile phone vendor Fairphone

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