In the first of this three-part series investigating consumer spending, Jacques reveals how the concept of 'product lifespan' holds the key to our ever-churning consumerism. Exploring the historical origin of planned obsolescence, when some of the world biggest electrical manufacturers formed a light bulb cartel in the 1920s, Jacques reveals how products that are essential to our modern lifestyles are still made to break. During his investigation, Jacques uncovers the process by which a crucial transformation happened and attitudes towards spending were transformed. Instead of needing new goods because our old ones were broken, we learned to want them for reasons of fashion and aspiration - awaking a consumer appetite that could never be satisfied. In the US, he visits a recycling centre where brand-new high-tech goods are destroyed before they have even come out of the box. Jacques also meets some of the companies that encourage consumers to be dissatisfied with what they have and encourage purchases as part of an ever-faster cycle of 'upgrades'. He asks a senior IKEA executive why, despite the company's commitment to sustainability, it still encourages repeated discarding and purchasing. Jacques also talks to a former senior Apple employee who reveals how the company's new focus on fashion, with its colourful iPhones, keeps us buying even when technological innovation slows.
Using mind-boggling data and CGI, it traces humankind’s story from hunter-gatherer to dominant global species. Seen from the global perspective of space, this special shows the breathtaking extent of our influence, revealing how we’ve transformed our planet and produced an interconnected world of extraordinary complexity.
2015 • Economics
Ambassador Henry Crumpton, a veteran CIA operative with experiences on the front line of America's initial campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, considers the paradigm shift caused by the increased role of non-state actors in the Mid-East and other issues facing that region and the world.
Chernobyl 1986. A nuclear reactor exploded, spewing out massive quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. Within days, the pollution had spread across Europe. Living on land contaminated with radioactivity would be a life-changing ordeal for the people of Belarus, but also for the Sami reindeer herders of central Norway. It even affected the Gaels of the distant Hebrides. Five years ago there was a meltdown at the Fukushima reactor, and thousands of Japanese people found their homes, fields and farms irradiated, just as had happened in Europe. This international documentary, filmed in Belarus, Japan, the lands of Norway's Sami reindeer herders and in the Outer Hebrides, poses the question: what lessons have we learned? Gaelic title: Chernobyl agus Fukushima: Na Leasanan
2016 • Economics