Essay On Planned Obsolescence

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Originating from the Latin language, obsolescence means something is losing value, is growing old, getting out of fashion or becoming useless. In the context of product lifetime and life-cycle, obsolescence refers to durable goods depreciating and losing functional value as a result of wear and tear. The deliberate reduction of a product’s technically feasible lifetime below what is economically feasible to encourage replacement purchases resulting is a marketing strategy called planned obsolescence ("Obsoleszenz [Obsolescence],"; Cambridge Wörterbuch Business-Englisch, n.d.) (2012).

In his study, a research assignment commissioned by the German “Kommission für wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Wandel” (Panel for economic and social change), Röper (1976) refers to various definitions of planned obsolescence. For his study, he uses the Panel’s definition of planned obsolescence: a marketing strategy aiming at influencing demand by reducing product lifetime and introducing new designs and fashion strategies (p.14). Röper’s study did not find any empirical evidence for the theory of planned obsolescence (p.319). However, this lack of evidence gave reason for critics by Hillmann
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At the time of the publication of London’s paper, the USA was going through a depression, as the title already suggests. London complains that people are using goods much longer than they used to use them before the depression and way longer than the products’ natural end-of-use time leading to a decrease in production and sales. As a solution, London proposes that the government to define a lifetime to product; at the end of this time, the product “would be legally ‘dead’” (p. 6) and “[n]ew products would be constantly pouring forth” (p. 6). Therefore, London wants to use a lifetime limitation as a means to recover the
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