There was a recent research study at the University of Kent in the UK which indicated “Cheaper Fashion Causes Faster Fashion Change,” and this study was mentioned in a recent “Futurist Magazine” by the World Future Foundation. Okay, now then let’s take this theme and ask a much better question, shall we? “Does Planned Obsolescence Increase Speed of Innovation in Society and Civilization?” Well, what is the answer to this – yes or no? And if the answer is yes, then why, and if the answer is no, then let’s hear it.
Okay so, maybe you are in the old YES camp. Okay fine, it is true that when something fails it must be replaced with something that works better, or the latest new thing. Yes, this means additional sales of that item. But planned obsolescence also causes consumers and buyers to lose confidence in the products of that industry.
If your answer is NO, then you could argue that if buyers like the sector, they will want the latest new thing, and consumers and buyers will be confident in the products they buy in that sector, thus, there will be more upside, and therefore more folks capital flows to the sector or industry for the next new thing. A good example might be Apple Computers.
One might say that since Laptop Computers have improved and become stable platforms and more reliable, they’ve hit their peak, and thus, there is no money in making new laptops, because the old ones last 3-times as long, and there is no need to buy a new one. Whereas, if they go out, or fail, break, or stop working, then the owner has to buy a new one, thus more sales and more profit potential for the sector, which means more capital flows to provide those goods.
Perhaps, this is what GM, Chrysler, and Ford determined when trying to make cars cheaper and maximize profits? It backfired didn’t it. So, is there a happy medium? Some planned obsolescence and yet not much, which proves to be the best metric, and if so, what is that formula, and is it different depending on the industry? And will playing with that figure increase or decrease the speed of innovation? If you have any thoughts on this reality, or have considered any of this yourself, boy we’d sure like to hear about it. Please consider all this, it’s an important issue indeed.