This is why we can't have nice things

This video is about stuff: light bulbs, printers, phones and why they aren't better. Go to and use code VERITASIUM to get a 2-year plan plus 1 additional month with a huge discount. It’s risk free with Nord’s 30 day money-back guarantee!
The Man in the White Suit -
London, B. (1932). Ending the depression through planned obsolescence. -
Slade, G. (2009). Made to break: Technology and obsolescence in America. Harvard University Press -
Krajewski, M. (2014). The great lightbulb conspiracy. IEEE spectrum, 51(10), 56-61. -
Planet Money, The Phoebus Cartel -
The Light Bulb Conspiracy -
Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Mac Malkawi, Oleksii Leonov, Michael Schneider, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Lyvann Ferrusca, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal
Written by Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Ivan Tello
Filmed by Derek Muller and Raquel Nuno
Edited by Derek Muller
Video supplied by Getty Images
Music by Jonny Hyman and from"Aquatic Planet", "Rhythm of Dreams", "Tread Lightly", "Unexpected Visitors", "Curved Mirrors" "Drunken Lullaby" "Fluorescent Lights"
Thumbnail by Raquel Nuno and Karri Denise

Lae alla



  • I have this yellow bulb ( dont know the material) in my house for 15 years that I haven’t change once. And then I have this horrible led bulbs that won’t last even a year before I have to change them, and those are suppose to be the new, modern and ecologic bulbs Wtf?

    michellemichelle5 tundi tagasi
  • If that only was true that you wouldn't need to replace a LED Lightbulb and it would be "everlastning". I've replaced noumerous LED bulbs in the last years of very known brands. So I think the lightbulb manufacturers still implement "features" to have them break down after a year or two.

    Martin OptilonMartin Optilon5 tundi tagasi
  • Apple does this now by prohibiting repair shops purchase of parts and opposing right to repair laws.

    Al RiveraAl Rivera6 tundi tagasi
  • Alternate Video Title: 'Capitalism ruins everything."

    FaultyTwoFaultyTwo6 tundi tagasi
  • Except the LED bulbs have power supply bases that die on a schedule. So really we're back to square one, with the low quality LED bulbs it seems we're back to the cartel, and no way to discern a quality long-lasting light source from a low quality one. I for one would pay double if I knew the bulb would last 15 years!

    Benjamin DBenjamin D7 tundi tagasi
  • Anyone thought of breaking that bulb and running away, or it's just me?

    Vinod AdwaniVinod Adwani7 tundi tagasi
  • why do you have a flip knife? isn't that illegal? wTF

    RawrItsTayL0RRawrItsTayL0R7 tundi tagasi
  • It's almost as if Capitalism is inherently evil what a revelation

    David DDavid D7 tundi tagasi
  • You posted this video during all this vaccine thing going on😑

    jazz virjazz vir7 tundi tagasi
  • Yet again, another story centred around capitalism, surprise duh🙄 But again highly insightful video👍

    FourtiiFourtii7 tundi tagasi
  • My desktop computer was built a year and a half ago -- the monitor that is connected to it is from 2011. My cellphone dates back to 2014. My Toughbook laptop was made in 2007, and still performs the two jobs that I bought it for (navigation and word processing). My newest car was built over a decade ago, my motorcycles were made in 1970 (Honda Trail 90) and 1989 (Goldwing). It also helps to know how to maintain and repair these things (my cars and motorcycles drive as well as new, at a fraction of the price). I don't have to worry about "right to repair," common parts are easily found (new and used -- some of the parts on my sports car came from one just like it that has a twisted frame). Of that whole list, only the desktop computer and phone were purchased new. If not for people believing that they need new stuff (and thus they need to sell the old stuff), I wouldn't have a lot of what I have.

    SoloPilot6SoloPilot67 tundi tagasi
  • This is why usa baned Huawei

    Pratik KarandePratik Karande8 tundi tagasi
  • Light Emitting Diodes can easily last over 100,000 hours. The bulbs that house LEDs, however, have more components than just the LED. And therein lies the opportunity for the protection of profits. Problem solved.

    V PriceV Price8 tundi tagasi
  • Exponential increase in quality videos from Veritasium

    Benwin ThattilBenwin Thattil8 tundi tagasi
  • Planned obsolescence is certainly not good for our environment.

    Saumya ShaluSaumya Shalu9 tundi tagasi
  • epic video.. everything's fixable ;)

    Harris PiltonHarris Pilton9 tundi tagasi
  • COMMENTS DISABLED lol How about when the CIA dropped pests animals over central American farms to get rid of a politician they didnt like in the 70s lol I mean agent orange wa sso bad and evil no conspiracy neede.d were gonna come bomb u now u guys think the peopel who carpet bomb arent afraid to also lie cheat and steal for a few decades ? lol theyre ready to bomb innocent civilians for fake wars. we can see them putting chemicals in the water , i mean the put frogs in the water of guetamala to get rid of their crops lol

    AckzaTVAckzaTV9 tundi tagasi
  • Wait! As an American, I must stand up for my right to retail therapy. I have somethings that just won't break down. I've got a Whal hair clipper that's over 20 years old, a Sonic toothbrush, a Panasonic microwave and a Panasonic electric shaver that are all over ten years old. This is unAmerican! I'm sick of them and I wish they would die so I could shop for new ones. But how many guys are going to throw out something that still works? I demand built in obsolescence!

    Daniel FernandezDaniel Fernandez9 tundi tagasi
  • I once saw a pair of Sony headphones. They were good headphone costing about $300. I asked how long can you use before the battery needs replacing... " About 3 years", and "u can't change the batteries.." What do I do with them after 3 years??? "Buy a new one" Wtf

    Standard nnnStandard nnn10 tundi tagasi
  • Non replaceable batteries and rubberized plastics in our consumer products are prime examples. These things don't last and they force you to buy a new one. I think German carmakers also adopted this idea. A lot of mercedes made in the 1970s can still run today. Today, when you buy a new German car, you will start having problems almost immediately. Few would want to buy a 5 year old used German car.

    Standard nnnStandard nnn10 tundi tagasi
  • poor us, we are victims ... of our own ignorance the truth. The world moves thanks to us (consumers), if the products are not very durable it is by our pure and exclusive decision, that we prefer to buy something cheap (low quality materials, workmanship, etc.) instead buy something of good quality and that last longer. Why do I want an eternal computer? With all the advances in software that increasingly ask for more power. My motorola c115 was eternal, what was it going to do for me today with all the progress? (We are talking about some years). I prefer an ever-changing world where new cars basically drive themselves, to a static world where I would have to work like a dog aiming to buy the eternal Ford that was shown in the video ... thanks but no, if I want that I can go to Cuba (and I am very sorry for those who suffer in that country). The interesting thing about all this is that our dear Derek in the video gives a point of view, what he says is not an undeniable reality, but in the comments it is incredible how they take it as absolute truth, nobody questions why we live as we live ... I love veritasium videos but lately it points a lot to this type content of wash mind, without marking the different positions on it. Success to all

    EmoteEmote10 tundi tagasi
  • I always use to think of these conspiracies in my mind now im clear with obsolescence

    Shadab KhanShadab Khan10 tundi tagasi
  • It's a very niche industry, but the same troubling trend has manifested itself in the general aviation avionics (radios & instruments) industry. 20-30 years ago most of the aircraft radios and instruments were field repairable - i.e. your local radio shop could use relatively generic components like capacitors and IC chips to repair them. Service bulletins were issued to such shops so that they could perform modifications & upgrades as well. In the 2000s BendixKing (subsidiary of Honeywell) effectively revoked the rights of thousands of such repair shops around the world to perform these repairs, and instructed them to destroy all copies of maintenance/service documentation which, for most shops, amounted to entire bookshelves at that point. (Of course, most shops outright turned in their dealership status and outright refused to destroy these documents, and good on them). Thankfully, BendixKing since then has fallen from its previous status as the de-facto industry leader in general aviation avionics, and has been on a road of steady atrophy, amounting to nothing more than a shell of their former status. That said, the current leader in this industry, Garmin, is unfortunately undergoing the same story, wherein their avionics products from the 90s and early 2000s were easily field-serviceable and well-documented, but today their avionics are purposely designed to last no more than 5-7 years, their hardware/software architecture is intentionally obfuscated to deter other companies from attempting 3rd-party integration compatibility, and factory-repair fees are artificially raised to financially unviable levels to force users to "upgrade" to newer equipment. Most egregiously, some of their FAA-legal documentation (for those in the industry - STC permission letters) were retroactively amended to preclude "owners and qualified technicians/repair stations" - which were previously authorized to carry out installations - from installing some of Garmin's older equipment and to limit new installations to "authorized dealers" only, effectively stripping practical reuse of older products that could have been transferred in the used market to an aircraft owner who desires older (and perfectly functional) equipment for a fraction of the cost of a new one. When I asked of the true rationale behind this action to Michael Kerrigan, Garmin regional sales representative for the Eastern US, I was met with a very hostile response that boiled down to "keep your mouth shut or your dealership will be in jeopardy."

    PK-JINPK-JIN10 tundi tagasi
  • This is why I don't buy iPhones

    Yellow BelleYellow Belle10 tundi tagasi
  • Apple iphone engineers: pfft.....amateurs

    Jake LambuthJake Lambuth10 tundi tagasi
  • haha jokes on you. LED bulbs run at double the current they should making them hot and die sooner. check out philips dubai lamp for more

    Andrew ShevchenkoAndrew Shevchenko10 tundi tagasi
  • cApItAlIsM lEaDs To InOvAtIoN

    Ari OkuboAri Okubo11 tundi tagasi
  • well i predict we can use forever lasting things on earth but its like 50/50 we can use things that can last forever and some things wont so ya but if so go outer space and start living in a spaceship which will be so advanced in the future there wont be money needed or food to eat or water to drink or oxygen to breathe well i dont have have any proof of that but anyways i dont need to prove you its just for me thank you and good luck

    iloveuniverseforeverandalwaysiloveuniverseforeverandalways11 tundi tagasi
  • good as always except for the 3 advertising ;)

    Axel DaguerreAxel Daguerre11 tundi tagasi
  • arnt farmers planned obsolecence people. ?.

    phantom walkerphantom walker12 tundi tagasi
  • companies get,pay,people to test how long products last,then adjust them,,, does anything chinese last.......

    phantom walkerphantom walker12 tundi tagasi
    • so, capitalism made our lights shitty marxism intesifies

      fouoii gyhhfouoii gyhh11 tundi tagasi

    phantom walkerphantom walker12 tundi tagasi
    • changing fashion of progress, and sometimes, regress (wars, natural disasters and such who deletes a lot of knowledge and advanced things). peace out.

      fouoii gyhhfouoii gyhh11 tundi tagasi
  • As time goes on, and things like the right to repair become law, why wouldn't manufacturers just purposely design their products to be modular, and easily upgradable, so that they can continue to sell upgrades to their customers rather than trash the entire thing.

    kaylor87kaylor8712 tundi tagasi
  • Very good! Keep it going.

    Brad BucknerBrad Buckner12 tundi tagasi
  • This is an amazing channel!!!!

    Gaurav PatelGaurav Patel13 tundi tagasi
  • QI XL 011 - Objects and Ornaments, is that where you got it from?

    George Henry MooreGeorge Henry Moore13 tundi tagasi
  • The conspiracy is just capitalism dude. Like, c'mon. It's the same story with fruit companies. And mining companies. And oil companies. Etc..

    trent wolfgramtrent wolfgram13 tundi tagasi
  • typical tyrant meeting to monopolize and steal the public money.

    NoLeads Ent.NoLeads Ent.14 tundi tagasi
  • nice vid

    ReapermaskReapermask14 tundi tagasi
  • The problem isn't with products that lasts forever, the problem is in how geopolitics effects trade etc... In these day and age without money you can't even get food, and so you have to work for money to get your food, and the story gose a long way, I am kinda starting to think that we are being fed unhealthy food so doctors will have their business going 🙄.

    Nahid BepariNahid Bepari14 tundi tagasi
  • spectacular !!!

    Fernando LuizFernando Luiz14 tundi tagasi
  • Once that light bulb goes out, the world is fucked

    Zach IslamZach Islam14 tundi tagasi
  • Another worth watching knowledge..

    Luc-Angelo Sean NepomucenoLuc-Angelo Sean Nepomuceno14 tundi tagasi
  • “ah yes unemployment is a problem let’s make the government destroy things”...... WHY IS UNEMPLOYMENT A PROBLEM???? if we’re destroying anything it needs to be this horrid system

    maybekaitlin !maybekaitlin !15 tundi tagasi
  • Excellent!!!

    Wes BWes B15 tundi tagasi
  • Great video, extremely meaningful and helped me open my eyes and mind to a LOT of things (or at least broaden already opened eyes). BUT, one serious critic - you categorize progress as an essencially mechanical-technological thing. Explicitly, even, when talking about the spans attained by apple and idealized by some car company i don't exactly recall (ford, perhaps?). Progress, advancement, improvement or whatever you may call them, albeit there are differences in specific meanings in words, they are infinitely variable in expression. If this one new cellphone has a back that creates beauty in an actually more elegant, different, new, innovative or whatever combination of words such as these, they, by definition, ARE an improvement, they do attract more, because they essentially end up being more. And sure there are recyclings of style and whatnot amongst eras. It's a fallacy, however, to think such a thing as lazy or effortless. They end up happening more based on an eruption from the current age (whatever it must be) that is somewhat extremely similar to whichever other culture and age. It's like the phenomena where pyramids in several different parts of the world became built by unconnected civilizations. Some things flow to a common point based on biological behaviour connected to the (limiting and conditioning) external world, and thus things arise, but ever in a changing fashion of progress, and sometimes, regress (wars, natural disasters and such who deletes a lot of knowledge and advanced things). peace out.

    MarceloACRMarceloACR15 tundi tagasi
  • so, capitalism made our lights shitty *marxism intesifies*

    pascoepascoe16 tundi tagasi
  • Very good most enjoyable

    Alistair LumbAlistair Lumb16 tundi tagasi
  • How do you make people pay fines made from no real laws

    shperaxshperax16 tundi tagasi
  • Wow.

    Zac ShookZac Shook16 tundi tagasi
  • This channel is godlike.

    Brunno CavalcantiBrunno Cavalcanti17 tundi tagasi
  • The Free Market at work.

    Clarence EwingClarence Ewing17 tundi tagasi
  • No hay ni un comentario es español alv😭😭😭

    Carlos MartínezCarlos Martínez17 tundi tagasi
  • "Capitalism breeds innovation" The innovation: planned obsolescence

    Kala GoyalKala Goyal17 tundi tagasi
  • It’s sad that today, we feel an urge to buy what we don’t need out of fear we’ll be punished if we don’t.

    Keaqa nKeaqa n17 tundi tagasi
  • This video was amazing. Keep up the good work, you’re awesome

    Keaqa nKeaqa n17 tundi tagasi
  • My LEDs die all the time. Obsolescence is still going strong.

    Brandon ZachmanBrandon Zachman18 tundi tagasi
  • Exactly protecting the battery, this is important. I Remember having an early generation iPhone instead of slowing down the screen would just go black because the battery could not keep up

    Christian ClementsChristian Clements18 tundi tagasi
  • Your argument has a massive hole concerning available and feasible battery technology of the time was not up to par with standards you can imagine today. Concerning the old iPod

    Christian ClementsChristian Clements18 tundi tagasi
  • That's why I hate Apple. The "i" in iPhone stands for inferior. SWITCH TO SAMSUNG

    Shadow51Shadow5118 tundi tagasi
  • The clothing business has taken this tactic to the max... they put of new lines of clothes every 3-4 month

    Morten frost HansenMorten frost Hansen18 tundi tagasi
  • Because of shortage of paint, before Henry Ford bought up cheap surplus paint from the army, you could have a number of colours

    Morten frost HansenMorten frost Hansen18 tundi tagasi
  • This isn't just lightbulbs either, it's most things-particularly motor vehicles. They could easily make an affordable car that can go over a million miles, but then they'd stop selling cars. Laptops, phones, batteries, televisions, routers, literally everything is designed to break so you have to buy more.

    The Badger DenThe Badger Den18 tundi tagasi
  • God damn humanity.

    Jack AguirreJack Aguirre19 tundi tagasi
  • I won't be surprised if this video gets taken down

    Sourish SahaSourish Saha19 tundi tagasi
  • We are living in a social media driven world where everyone acts like they have to have things better than your friends. People act with their phone like it's a trophy not a communication device. I have been using the same phone for just under 4yrs. My friends replace theirs every year and some of them told me to change the phone. But mine is perfectly fine and would change only when it's actually obsolete. It's actually the smarter and cost effective way

    Sourish SahaSourish Saha19 tundi tagasi
  • this is exactly what Apple did with their product and got away with it. Now 90% teens use Iphone despite knowing it. Either they're too stupid or have access to too much money the didn't deserve.

    Sourish SahaSourish Saha19 tundi tagasi
  • We are living in a gig Economy. Capitalism turned into Corporatocracy. People having 10$ coffee, 25$ burger and 100$ steak, 10k vacations, 45k car and 500k house all with credit cards bcz they earn 40k pre tax yearly. Bcz we have been programmed by social media into this kind of lifestyle. We should differentiate the necessity vs luxury and prefer independence over unnecessary luxury

    Sourish SahaSourish Saha19 tundi tagasi
  • Is the LED light bublb essentially last forever so the company has to control its life span by planned obsolescence ? Technically, if you just have a good cooling system like e.g. Dyson desklamp, the LED will last very very long.

    Amaterasu SusanooAmaterasu Susanoo20 tundi tagasi
  • Everything in the world is made to break they spend millions of dollars in testing that their product breaks at a certain point which is usually just after the warranty expires

    camaro mancamaro man20 tundi tagasi
  • No idea what this video was about but at 0:10 it dawned on me "Planned Obsolescence"

    TheGreatArloManTheGreatArloMan20 tundi tagasi
  • Another example of capitalism stalling innovation and progress.

    Andrew PierceAndrew Pierce20 tundi tagasi
  • so basically capitalism and the never ending hunger for profit is why we cant have nice things

    SatanSatan20 tundi tagasi
  • 20 years later and I finally know why I shouldn't be flicking the light switch

    XblacksocksXXblacksocksX20 tundi tagasi
  • Wonderful. This all explains why we're all walking on a planet of garbage.

    Tiffany HolmesTiffany Holmes20 tundi tagasi
  • If humans stop caring about $ and power we would have so much more knowledge, take the spanish empire for ex

    BaterodaloBaterodalo20 tundi tagasi
  • Planned obsolescence is not required where improvements are valued. People will always want the next best thing. So purposely gimping your product is purely dishonest.

    M LM L20 tundi tagasi
  • anatomy of a headshot

    gecorp gecorpgecorp gecorp20 tundi tagasi
  • Aliens have no comment

    TheFlambeauTheFlambeau21 tund tagasi
  • I remember chatting with a man who worked for Gillet and he was part of a team working on the blades in the Mach 3 razor so that they would last exactly 3 shaves. Interesting how he explained that it should work and feel just as well for the first three shaves but be irritable and obviously worn for the 3rd.

    Matthew HorrocksMatthew Horrocks21 tund tagasi
  • I have purchased multiple LED light bulbs from Philips, many of them just died after few months.

    Gagan KumarGagan Kumar21 tund tagasi
  • So basically built in obsolescence keeps consumerism alive Consumerism literally kills human evolution....... It all makes since now

    Derek WhiteDerek White21 tund tagasi
  • lmfao why does the title remind me of Taylor swift-

    AshnikkoAshnikko21 tund tagasi
  • Let them do percieved obselesence. That's on us. But I wish we get rid of technical planned obsolescence for good.

    MauM / Mauro Miceli Consigli - Vivamos MejorMauM / Mauro Miceli Consigli - Vivamos Mejor22 tundi tagasi
  • who cares about Kelvin lol talk in Celsius mate

    Rice CubeRice Cube22 tundi tagasi
  • But you didn't really address the concern of workers losing their jobs? Just ended with an empty declaration that we should only support technological obsolescence. Who is to say that in every sector technological obsolescence will be fast enough to ensure jobs stay, and will continue to be in the future? How would automation affect this?

    l1mbol1mbo22 tundi tagasi
  • Goose and Ganders agree: You can light one just holding twixt your buttcheeks.

    Richard LopezRichard Lopez22 tundi tagasi
  • People just need to be better at using things until they break. Im sure many do, but its still the best we can do...

    DjuntasDjuntas22 tundi tagasi
  • LEDS such tgey don't last

    adam blaedowadam blaedow22 tundi tagasi
  • None of this would be a problem if it didn't threaten the survival and independence of people. Scientists if they really wanted to could engineer food production and such that people wouldn't need to do unnecessary labor to exist. They choose not to.. because the financiers and shareholders of stock do not want that. People can still have purpose.. they just need not pursue it doing mindless boring jobs.

    Terry ThompsonTerry Thompson22 tundi tagasi
  • Personally, I think silencing skeptical people is harmful, it doesn't matter how batshit crazy their theories are, stamping them out makes people mord likely to accept actual issues as "just life"

    Zaid LacksalastnameZaid Lacksalastname23 tundi tagasi
  • Conspiracies and cartels are often invoked to explain similar behaviour on the part of rival businesses. However, the economic theory of "oligopoly" has an alternative explanation which doesn't require any nefarious activity at all. Three service stations are competing in a small town. The prices are visible to all and one of them decides to increase prices. The others will watch to see if business decreases or stays the same. If they see that the rival is still doing the same business at a higher profit margin, then they will follow suit and increases their prices as well. Likewise, if one lowers prices and seems to be doing better, the others will follow suit. No need for clandestine meetings or skulduggery! It means that the market is not competitive, but rather based on "signalling". How to recognize oligopoly? - look at the advertisements - they will always have claims of better products or services. Monopoly and competitive markets hardly need advertisements at all.

    George ReynoldsGeorge Reynolds23 tundi tagasi
  • Interesting. We are consumers, so the things we buy should by nature be consumable in some fashion. Most likely consumed by age/time. The things that degrade in value the least or go up tend to last a lot longer by design and or by maintenance. Property, Houses, classic cars. Where does art fit in? Pictures, Film, Music... I own multiple copies of my favorite media on different formats. All the companies need do is rerelease them. Though usually following releases add value with extra content. The most expensive art becomes subscription based... we pay to see them in person and don't get to own the actual copy. 😅

    Llia OlsenLlia Olsen23 tundi tagasi
  • How is that even legal?

    Javi MartinezJavi Martinez23 tundi tagasi
  • Thank you so much for making this video You can't imagine what you have just started

    Harsha AdithyaHarsha AdithyaPäev tagasi
  • Awesome information

    Vijay KumarVijay KumarPäev tagasi
  • I've had to replace at least 3 LED bulbs in my house over the past few years, one of which barely lasted 200 hours. the LED element itself may have an incredibly long lifespan, but the shitty electronics in some of the cheaper bulbs still die on a regular basis.

    TeemoTeemoPäev tagasi
  • 8:54 could you imagine if the government went around taking peoples appliances and forcing them buy new ones when they got too old?

    TeemoTeemoPäev tagasi
  • 1:32 demand would dry out when houses would stop being built. any new building would for sure use those lights, & they’re still breakable. maybe thats j me though

    alcldesalcldesPäev tagasi
  • It's called Cartel for a reason.

    Rabih BadrRabih BadrPäev tagasi