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.
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
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.
The programme explains how we changed our attitude to risk, learnt to live with debt and, above all, how governments stepped back from regulating any of it. At the heart of the story is Alan Greenspan, who for 20 years was one of the most powerful people in the world. In October 2008, weeks after the catastrophic collapse of Lehman Brothers, the man whose ideas influenced the world admitted he might have been 'partially' wrong.
Ade Adepitan, Anita Rani, Ant Anstead and Dan Snow take a closer look at one of the most complex and powerful cities in the world, focusing on transport links in the first edition. Anita, Ade and Ant head to Grand Central Terminal, joining the daily commute on the iconic Staten Island ferry as well as the subway, suburban railroad and citibikes. Dan visits Times Square to see how the 230 LED advertising hoardings are maintained, while Ade takes a ride in a yellow cab, discovering that the business model is under threat from newly created taxi apps.
In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas, which lead to the creation of a new political movement that sought to create new people, free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people's minds by business and politics.