Renewable Matter # 20 / February-March

Use-by Date Product

by Sergio Ferraris

Focus Planned Obsolescence


We change a smartphone every 2.7 years, a t-shirt every
2 and a half years and a PC every 4. Yet 30% of the goods we throw away are still in working order, 60% when talking about electronics. It’s hard to draw the line between planned obsolescence and our psychology, between research on greater efficiency and errors in design.


Markets seek value, just like consumers. The problem is that different types of value are brought into opposition. For markets it is about economic value, whereas for consumers of a good it is about maximising the cost to use value ratio. At the beginning of the industrial era the dialectic between producer and consumer was: the former would supply a good that would last over time, in...

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