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.
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.
Jamie Bartlett reveals how Silicon Valley's mission to connect the world is disrupting democracy, helping plunge us into an age of political turbulence. Many of the Tech Gods were dismayed when Donald Trump - who holds a very different worldview - won the American presidency, but did they actually help him to win? With the help of a key insider from the Trump campaign's digital operation, Jamie unravels for the first time the role played by social media and Facebook's vital role in getting Trump into the White House. But how did Facebook become such a powerful player? Jamie learns how Facebook's vast power to persuade was first built for advertisers, combining data about our internet use and psychological insights into how we think. A leading psychologist then shows Jamie how Facebook's hoard of data about us can be used to predict our personalities and other psychological traits. He interrogates the head of the big data analytics firm that targeted millions of voters on Facebook for Trump - he tells Jamie this revolution is unstoppable. But is this great persuasion machine now out of control? Exploring the emotional mechanisms that supercharge the spread of fake news on social media, Jamie reveals how Silicon Valley's persuasion machine is now being exploited by political forces of all kinds, in ways no one - including the Tech Gods who created it - may be able to stop.
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.