This is why we can't have nice things

Publisert 26. mars. 2021
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


  • Ironically if you undervolt an Incandescent lightbulb, they can all last for very long amounts of time, but you loose efficiency doing so (This is the main reason that old lamp at the fire station still works). LEDs are ripe for planned obsolescence, many dont last as long as they advertise

  • It's not the current flowing through that filament, it's the starting and stopping of the current over time

  • Sadly, LED bulbs also include planned obsolescence. Look up "dubai bulbs".

  • I am fine with planned obsolescence - depending on how much I had to pay for my product. If I pay $20 for a pair of shoes and they don't last a full year, I'm fine with that. If I pay $400 for a phone or computer but it can't function properly after two years - f*** you and crappy product.

  • this video almost adressed everything about a boring dystopia.

  • That VPN ad is the first ad I haven't skipped in years... Veritasium does a nice job of speaking honestly and not just force-feeding us the ad mid-video, which would have been ironic given the nature of the topic (anti-consumer practices, and forcing buyers to re-buy). I bet he realized this while making this video... Good!

  • so you accept that a small, rich group of immoral bastards can affect world-wide standards, and play tricks on us. yet the idea of "cough-cough" being a giant corporate/industry hoax is just not acceptable? the idea that we're trashing 99% of peoples lives to save 1%, on an already overpopulated planet? it's the same principle as weed :P lower the quality of, control and criminalize the life of 99% of peoples, to ''protect'' 1%. incriminate, break, control. and you're also just brushing off that some really tight niche of evil f-heads did something sus with anything that Nikola Tesla discovered or invented? That they might have dang instantly-moving x-y-z flying machines, that can run almost indefinitely, and lol, you think that they'd TELL us? or something to provide some really abundant electric power? i can see why they'd hide that. use it to get to out of space and make flying machines and portals or something lol, while we're still paying for coal power and arguing over alternative solutions. and that the possibility of a fake alien invasion to control the populace (though even just a small fleet of unidentified technology war crafts) isn't possible? all it would take is 10 assholes in flying discs with some lasers on it and the whole world would bend over and say ''please we submit". we're just gonna buy any """aliens""" that show up ARE """aliens""", huh? and when joe rogan talks about how people been seeing ''ufos'', those are from out of space, huh, automatically? not just some humans in crafts that they've hidden the tech of??! that isn't possible, huh? the whole thing with vax, too? making people think those that are skeptical are ''anti science'', or dumb, giving them a derogatory label and misleading the argument by making it all about autism and kids when it SHOULD be able CAN WE TRUST THESE PEOPLE TO SHOVE THINGS IN OUR BODY? in the age of crispr and them-probably-having-the-cure-for-cancer-yet-just-selling-us-m0re-and-more-shite-to-give-us-cancer, and nano technology, and corporate immoral mega-control and lying? i don't trust bigguvdotpharma and they haven't earnt any trust. at least legalize recreational weed (and maybe bring in some new experts to deal with the cocaine and ampetamine etc issue, i don't know much about it other than that is another situation ENTIRELY mishandled and detrimental to humanity overall) if we're gonna be guinea pigs in cages like this. i don't even buy or eat mcdonalds and never have cept one time when i was drunk about 10 years ago with a lass and it was awful awful "food". total trash lol.

    • they soak up our fear. they get away with it. next thing i bet? flying craft ;p as i said. only take like 10, asssholes in something-that-looks alien, and they got the whole world quarantined again lol, forever, cults forming to worship fake aliens etc haha who knows. probably no need, all they need to do is stand on the media soapbox and say ''GET INSIDE THERE'S AN ''INFECTION". Everything = now illegal".

  • If you think led bulbs last 1/2 their advertised life, you will be surprised. Again, this is not the technology but planned obsolescence. They make them last long enough that you have no clue as to when you changed it before

  • It reminds me on Roman practices. Against machinations because the slaves and poorly played would revolt. But why don't put all that unnecessary potential in science and arts? It's so selfish.

  • Take a realistic price and guarantee long-term functionality. Less waste, less production pressure.

  • People should realize that with ever increasing population and planned obsolescence we are destroying more and more natural resources. There will come a time when we don't have enough to survive. The current Covid crisis is a great example where sustaining the economy has become more important than loosing innocent lives .

  • We've failed as a species.

  • 15:35 that's not true though, Half of the LEDs that I have placed died within a year or two.

  • Don't worry. New smart LED bulbs will stop getting security patches and turn into a security risk when the manufacturer decides to stop supporting their "long life bulbs" after only a couple of years so even LED bulbs, at least those with "smart" functionality will still become obsolete.

  • Brb gonna make my own lightbulb

  • this is Why we cant have a phone as tough as nokia 3310 these days

  • What episode of QI are you a guest on?

  • Realize how the guy in the thumbnail looks like he was photoshopped dingo the photo was was taken before 👌👌✨✨✨👌👌

  • Except they still make the LED bulbs die early by using cheap components in the base and make it hard to cool which kills the already cheap components inside even if the LED chip itself can last for 10,000 hours

  • I liked everything except for the ending. Led light bulbs were meant to be all that but in reality they are just as bad as everything else when it comes to lasting. Most of the bulbs I get here rarely ever last more than a year and usually it's not even the led itself in them that fails, it's the circuitry. Usually the caps. They're good when it comes to power consumption, can't argue about it, but they definitely don't last as long as you said at the end.

  • Ha Ha Ha, this applies to everything that has ever been made and sold to date . Don't you just love how stupid we have all been , and don't learn from our stupidity , yet the rich get richer and we get more stupid . Yet here we all are .

  • *...and then came the LED light bulb!*

  • cool episode but I've outlived countless LED bulbs. I think there's some sketchy things going on with them

  • I live in Canada and I've tried 2 or 3 VPN's, so that I could watch the US Netflix. Everytime, it blocks me and says 'we can tell you're using a VPN, and we're not gonna let you watch the US version so u might as well just shut it off and watch your crappy Canadadian version'.

  • Capitalism is not that bad

  • Sorry, but this is stupid. Artificial obsolescence is what make you buy a new iphone every year? Or a new car? Artificial obsolescence is a side effect. We want new products, new technology, because of the thing we can do with the stuff we buy. If you want a piece of everlasting equipments. Buy a Nokia 1100 cellphone or a 1930 incandescence lightbulb with only 5watts an 3 lumens of power.

  • Anyone else here from ltt?

  • Brilliant Video

  • Planned Obsolescence is an example of the Broken Windows Fallacy.

  • Apple is the number one company to follow this method followed by rest of all the companies lol

  • NOlong: * Gives more unskippable ads * pLanNEd ObSoLEseNcE

  • You see... Human greed is going to be the factor behind human beings demise.

  • So let's make solid state or quantum batteries that can charge in less than a second or keep a single charge forever and wonder why we're not making money or selling new ones

  • One of the most important issues if we hope to make it in the long term.

  • New subbie !! Great video!!

  • I heard this, but it was with tires it went like this "someone invented a car tire that would last forever (way longer) compared to new tires"

  • Nice to see you here Louis. :)

  • Then why do my LEDs keep failing??!!!

  • Keep up the great work!

  • Thomas Edison did no such thing. He bought patents and employed a lot of people to make his product. Thomas Edison did invent marketing himself as the best and smartest thing since sliced bread convincing everyone to herald his genius give him money without a second thought and he was part of a cartel that screwed Tesla out of his rightful place in history and drove him mad. Thomas Edison traveled the country electrocuting even an Elephant... Thomas Edison pioneered the cartel set up you are discussing!

  • trees in hayday

  • and for the same reason sometimes wild animals are being extinct so that the food producters can sell more of their products.

  • iphone

  • "You're more likely to sell your house than to buy a light bulb to replace in it" Sorry but you are so wrong. I can think of 5-8 ways you reduce the lifespan of an LED bulb but i can only count 3-4 how to manipulate an "old" bulb in production. In fact, you should read the fineprint on those bulbs. Here an example quoted from the Philips internet site about warranty: This product is specifically designed and developed for domestic use in normal conditions and operation only. The lifetime mentioned on the packaging is an average only (in accordance with standards L70B50 and IEC60969 norms) and is based on an average of 3 burning hours per day. I should a friend if he has the IEC norm but i am almost certain that it doesn't say anything about "average of 3 burning hours per day" but it's a non stop test 24/7. I have seen enough documentaries with those test racks and none ever said they turn them on an off. Apart that, i don't want to copy the whole paragraph about warranty but every bulb from Philips has usually a warranty of 2 years. I took the first bulb in the list and it's rated for 25k hours. Well, 25k divided by 3 hours per day, would mean almost 23 years.....right but if it breaks after 2 years and 1 day, there is no warranty anymore.....strange :) By the way, 2 years with 3 hours per day, it's 2190 hours....exactly in the range we was on 1925....and people want to tell us the cartel broke apart??

  • One reason why we need Resource-based economy ❤️🌎🙏🧘

  • That was spectacular, I really wasn't expecting such a brilliant video from so little a topic, nice.

  • Imagine a world where You only ever had to buy 1 of a car that will last you for a couple of decades. Imagine a world where losing jobs is celebrated, because it means we all can work less for more stuff. Where 40 hours a month out of every individual is enough to feed and leave us in relative luxury. Imagine a world where we don't have to infinitely produce to fill the pockets of a few so full of gold, there is no feasible way for them to ever spend it all.

  • How is 15 years essentially everlasting? This is a cute video on planned obsolescence but it's a real problem and eventually they will stop this in the future and UBI will be a thing....probably after we've destroyed the planet with crony capitalism. Insanity is not changing a system that requires constant abuse of resources to function instead of ya know....just changing the system. It's not like economics exists in nature, we created it and the current version is about out of date as the Model T.

  • Except most led bulbs you get at say Walmart or home depot, only seem to last a few years before they crap out or start screwing up. Most people wanting to replace their incandescents or fluorescents don't want to spend 20-40$ on each bulb. I have some expensive ones with Cree LED's and they have lasted 5 years so far. But the cheap ones? Most of them were dead after 2 years.

  • greedisgood

  • There is only one word that cover it all, Greed.

  • The shift in the purpose and method of making goods from guilds and artisanry to factories and assembly lines (along with the shift into industrialism and later, capitalism) has fundamentally changed what it means to make and receive a product. so long as we function under a capitalist system, which necessitates profit and more importantly growth of capital over anything, problems like planned obsolescence among others are frankly unsolvable, because any attempt to "reform" will always necessarily be rolled back in order to prioritize profits again.

  • 9:25 This sounds familiar... I know him... I know his ideas... yes, it has to be him... John Maynard Keynes

  • This channel is a ninja ..... Awesome content

  • As someone who despises wastefulness, im not a huge fan of planned obsolescence. Things should be built to last, even if you dont use it for the same purpose you used to. People should have the skills to jury rig things from parts they have laying around. Every piece of matter is precious and beautiful, if only given a chance to shine.

  • I want to a car that can outlive me in age 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • Planned obsolescence is only good for commies. Fear porn from the elites to sell us on stuff that sucks.

  • It's like you watched "The Men Who Made Us Spend" by the BBC.

  • Who’s here after apple announced a new phone with the only thing that’s improved being it having a new Color? Derek knew 😂

  • I'd love to see you do a video on the fire-based "pancake theory" that brought down WTC buildings 1,2 and 7.

  • LED from the bigger companies are emitting significantly less light within a year. Or the electronic breaks. They are not stopping there.

  • Who can believe someone who wears 2 masks or take seriously ?

  • Same thing applies to Cars, cellphones etc etc. The plan is to make them last about a few years before breaking down, this way they can make money selling new products or selling spare parts.

  • 9:00-9:30 soo my late model car would get destroyed during covid19 because of mass unemployment? That thought process is enough to make anyone go libertarian.

  • capitalism ruins everything

  • No Nikola Tesla love?

  • one failure.. edison didnt invet the lightbulb.,.. he just improved earlier the graphic shouldnt realy start with him at zero^^

  • I think in the face of climate change, planned obsolescence should be gotten rid of, and if it means less work to go around, we should have more governmental support of the citizenry. It's obvious. No More whatever name.

  • Tiktok conspiracies are just straight up stupid

  • The man in the white coat stars the great Alec Guinness btw.

  • You know this is about to be expanded today to our money. Digitals could easily have a life forcing the holder to spend

  • Cool

  • Great work!

  • Capitalism seems to be the root of the problem

  • sadly LED lightbulbs can and will fail. Not necessarily LED itself but driver circuit. Problem is in order to cut costs, multiple LEDs are connected together and supported by single driver. As no single LED is identical to each other, some LEDs from one circuit will draw more current than others and wear increasingly more and more over time. After one circuit fails, other circuits will receive more current and whole thing will colapse in cascade fashion.

  • Covid 19 is too good. look how many people it put out of work !

  • feels worsse now with printers

  • I can't watch this. It boils my blood knowing people purposely make things trash so they can get more money.

  • "There is no best. Only diffrent " things you can say in a capitalist society.

  • Look up the "Dubai Lamp" and you'll find that planned obsolescence is still very much in play when it comes to bulbs!

  • But making one 5000 hour light costs a bit more but surely less than making 10 x 500 lights? And you can charge more for it

  • ah yes my old ipad mini 1... almost nothing is supported anymore just good for books and music

  • My phone is from 2013 and my laptop is from 2011 and they both work fine and I’m not going to replace them until they are properly broken and unfixable. I also haven’t bought any clothes the past two years. It’s not just about the money, it’s also about the environment. This video is golden.

  • This is scummy

  • I wish I could like this video 5 times at least 👌🏻❤️🤘🏻

  • This might be true, if it weren't for electrolytic capacitors. Because of those capacitors (which virtually every LED bulb has), LED bulbs wear out when they're hot. Most settings don't provide sufficient airflow to keep the bulbs cool, especially in downlight applications. The thermal requirements for LED bulbs is exactly the opposite of incandescent bulbs: while incandescents should run hot, LED bulbs should be kept cool.

  • Wuld be great if things like cars culd be build to last forever for the price you have to pay nowadays

  • No one seems to care about the harmful effects that it does on the environment. Simply a shame. Cause today we can't pretend to ignore the environmental threat hanging over our heads.

  • If I recall correctly, this is the very reason why Americans internet is significantly slower then certain other countries

  • Corporate capitalism is the real conspiracy. 👌🏻

  • Planned obsolescence feels like it fails to take into account 1 golden rule in any field dealing with people. You can't please everybody.

  • Woah.. mind boggling.

  • sadly led bulbs also have planned obsolescence builtin =/ overdriving the hardware so it fails earlier

  • High-end Graphic card will become Low-end product after 5 years

  • This feels like a conspiracy theory that is actually not a conspiracy theory.

  • apple just reveal a new iMac and guess what, it comes with something new....... different colors

  • I try to make my own stuff when i can it last way longer..

  • When science meets commercial greed, its no doubt who wins. Tis a shame

  • Private Central Banking, fiat currency and fractional reserve lending is the greatest open conspiracy that has enslaved humanity and is the financial driver behind the destruction of Earth.

  • Phoebus Cartel. "Businessmen in the same trade rarely meet, but when they do, it always results in a conspiracy against the public." - Thomas Jefferson