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.
Comedian Jolyon Rubinstein is on a mission. He wants to find out why the Facebook generation is so disengaged from politics. With the general election just around the corner, according to a recent survey less than a quarter of under-25s plan to vote. Is this just apathy and ignorance? Or is something else going on?
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.
Behind the scenes with the team who look after all 843 acres of Central Park, revealing the hidden systems and organisational miracles that keep the world's busiest urban park clean and green. Plus, Ant Anstead sees how an entirely new district is being built on top of a functioning rail depot in Manhattan and Dan Snow is in Coney Island, where he discovers that television, air conditioning and extreme weather almost killed off this historic amusement zone.
This is the story of how the world's leading economy sinks into the Great Depression, with repercussions that allow Hitler to rise to power. Eventually, President Franklin D. Roosevelt brings hope and optimism back into the hearts of the US population.