Once upon a time there was a large Finnish company that manufactured the world's best and most innovative mobile phones. Nokia's annual budget was larger than that of the government of Finland and everyone who worked there shared in the windfall. But global domination cost the company its pioneering spirit and quantity gradually took over from quality, with new phone models being churned out by the dozen. Market share eroded, until in 2016, mobile phone production in Finland ceased. The Rise and Fall of Nokia is a wry morality tale for our times, told by those that lived and worked through the rollercoaster years in a company that dominated a nation.
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.
2010 • Economics
Indonesia is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world--the island of Java alone has 45 active volcanoes, which could erupt at any time. Descend into some of the world's most volatile craters with scientist Tom Pfeiffer, who is hell-bent on photographing rare volcanic phenomenon.
By the early 1950s, a holy trinity of oil, plastics and fertilisers had transformed the planet. But as Professor Iain Stewart reveals, when the oil producing countries demanded a greater share in profits from the Western energy companies, the oil and gas fields of the Middle East became a focus for coup d'états and military conflict.
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.
In the month that followed the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, the world stared into the abyss of total financial collapse. The third part of the BBC's definitive series on the crash tells the extraordinary story of how politicians reacted, and asks what has been learnt from the entire calamity. Could it happen again?