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.
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.
One hundred and fifty years ago, the corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is today's dominant institution. But history humbles dominant institutions. All have been crushed, belittled or absorbed into some new order. The corporation is unlikely to be the first institution to defy history. Based on Joel Bakan's book, "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power," this documentary is a timely, critical inquiry that examines the very nature of the corporation--its inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures. We begin by learning that under the law, corporations have all the rights and yet few of the responsibilities of people. By viewing the behavior of the corporation through the prism of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (or DSM III, the gold standard of psychiatric evaluation) the filmmakers discover that if the corporation were indeed a person, the person would be considered a psychopath. Featuring candid interviews with CEOs, whistle-blowers, brokers, gurus, spies, players, pawns and pundits, the chronicle charts the spectacular rise of an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals as it also recounts victories against this seemingly invincible force. Once you see it, you may find yourself thinking twice about what you eat, what you wear, what you watch and what you read.
2003 • Economics
Command and Control presents the terrifying, true story of what can happen when the weapons built to protect us threaten to become the very source of our own destruction. Based on The New York Times bestseller by Eric Schlosser the film tells the story of a 1980 accident at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas in minute-by-minute detail through the accounts of Air Force personnel, weapon designers, and first responders who were there, revealing the incredible chain of events that brought America to the brink of nuclear disaster. In so doing, the film explores the great dilemma that the United States has faced since the dawn of the nuclear age: How do you manage weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them?
2016 • Economics
In the second of this three-part series, Jacques reveals how fear remains one of the most powerful drivers of our spending. Visiting a neuroscience lab, Jacques hears from a consumer psychologist about how our brains are much more responsive to negative than to positive stimuli. He also meets some experts who have turned this knowledge into an art form, helping manufacturers make billions from our anxieties and insecurities. At the remote chateau of French anthropologist Clotaire Rapaille, Jacques learns how our sense of fear drives us in ways many of us do not understand - and how Rapaille's insights have helped companies sell us everything from SUVs to cigarettes. At the Beverley Hills pad of multimillionaire marketer Rohan Oza, he hears how Oza's connections to celebrities helped propel VitaminWater into the soft drink stratosphere, despite the fact that the product's health claims have been called into question. Jacques also confronts the men who say they are combating our most deep-seated fear - of age and decline. In Las Vegas, he mingles with the doctors and businessmen attending a global conference aimed at selling us ways to stay young and healthy, challenging them to justify their claims for the anti-aging business that has made them rich.