This documentary travels through a world of joblessness, debt, and economic uncertainty to the sovereign nation of the plutocrats, where each crisis seems to offer a new business opportunity. In America, where the 2008 financial meltdown cost $4 trillion in economic output, fortunes were made by the very people who precipitated the disaster while millions lost their homes and their savings. Austerity in Europe, economic stagnation in Asia, a lost generation of the young and unemployed - signs we are living through a fundamental global reorganization, the result of which no-one can predict. The world of the 1% has arrived, and the wealth gap is now greater in many countries than during the Gilded Age, the era of the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Vanderbilts. Can our stressed democracies deal with the fallout? Or have governments simply become instruments of the new elite?
Planned Obsolescence is the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand. As a magazine for advertisers succinctly puts it: “The article that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business “ - and a tragedy for the modern growth society which relies on an ever-accelerating cycle of production, consumption and throwing away. THE LIGHT BULB CONSPIRACY combines investigative research and rare archive footage to trace the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel, set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, to present-day stories involving cutting edge electronics (such as the iPod) and the growing spirit of resistance amongst ordinary consumers. This film travels to France, Germany, Spain and the US to find witnesses of a business practice which has become the basis of the modern economy, and brings back disquieting pictures from Africa where discarded electronics are piling up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste. Economists and environmentalists believe that the growth society as we know it is unsustainable in the long run and that Planned Obsolescence needs to become a thing of the past, as it is impossible to combine the limitless consumption of resources with a finite planet. But what are the alternatives? The film offers thought-provoking analysis by thinkers working on ways of saving both the economy and the environment, and presents hands-on stories showing entrepreneurs putting new business models into practice.
2010 • Economics
Thursday, October 24: the Wall Street Stock Exchange crashes, the greatest economic crisis of the 20th century suddenly breaks out. The crash, fueled by frenetic speculation, and by the idea that everyone could get rich without limits, put a final stop to the euphoria of the 1920s.
Anita Rani, Ade Adepitan, Ant Anstead and Dan Snow look at food consumption in the Big Apple. From dusk until dawn at the New Fulton fish market in The Bronx, they uncover the hidden night time operations, hard-nosed negotiations and price fluctuations of this enormous wholesale operation. Ade also looks into local apple production, Anita visits a cattle farm that supplies the region's steakhouses, Ant visits the New NY Bridge, and Dan heads to Freshkills on Staten Island. Once the world's biggest landfill, it's been transformed into 2,200 acres of parkland.
Britain is on the brink of a technological revolution. Machines and artificial intelligence are beginning to replace jobs like never before. Reporter Rohan Silva looks at the workplaces already using this new technology and asks whether we should feel threatened by it, or whether it will benefit all of us. Are we ready for one of the biggest changes the world of work has ever seen?
2015 • Economics
‘Economics is for everyone’, argues legendary economist Ha-Joon Chang in our latest mind-blowing RSA Animate. This is the video economists don’t want you to see! Chang explains why every single person can and SHOULD get their head around basic economics. He pulls back the curtain on the often mystifying language of derivatives and quantitative easing, and explains how easily economic myths and assumptions become gospel. Arm yourself with some facts, and get involved in discussions about the fundamentals that underpin our day-to-day lives.