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.
In the autumn of 2007, Matthew Lee, a worried accounting executive at Lehman Brothers, began to notice serious financial irregularities in the company's practices. When he refused to approve tens of billions of dollars' worth of suspicious transactions, he was fired. Six months later, Lehman Brothers sank with 631 billion dollars of debt. Lee, who has since emerged as a crucial figure in Lehman's downfall, and other whistleblowers recount their personal stories of fraud and deception that went right to the top of the bank. Ultimately, they paid the price for trying to expose the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis.
Jamie Bartlett uncovers the dark reality behind Silicon Valley's glittering promise to build a better world. The tech gods believe progress is powered by technology tearing up the world as it is - a process they call disruption. He visits Uber's lavish offices in San Francisco and hears how the company believes it is improving our cities. But in Hyderabad in India, Jamie sees for himself the human consequences of Uber's utopian vision - drivers driven to suicide over falling earnings. Riding shotgun in a truck as it drives itself for more than a hundred miles on a highway, Jamie asks what the next wave of Silicon Valley's global disruption - the automation of millions of jobs - will mean for all of us. In search of answers, he gets a warning from an artificial intelligence pioneer who is replacing doctors with software - an economic shock is coming, faster than any of us have realized. Jamie's journey ends in the remote island hideout of a former Facebook executive who has armed himself with a gun because he fears this new industrial revolution could lead to social breakdown and the collapse of capitalism.
Growing seaweed is now a ten billion dollar a year global industry. Tim travels to Korea to see some of the biggest seaweed farms in the world and meets the scientists who are hoping to create a seaweed revolution in Australia.
We are surrounded by clean, raw energy waiting to be tapped - energy that could eventually replace fossil fuels. Finding new ways to harness the energy around us takes a rare breed of scientist-engineers: men and women with a combination of technical skill, imagination, and unwavering focus. If we act now, developments in energy production could avert disaster and usher in a new era of clean, safe energy.
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