This is why we can't have nice things

Birt 26 mar 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


  • Consideration 1 - 2 years ago I bought 6 led lamps for a luminaire. To date, only 2 have not been exchanged. Consideration 2 - I already had 2 android phones that after updates became carts and had to be changed. Therefore, I no longer update the android version of my cell phones. Today I have a moto x4 as fluid as new.

  • the problem is capitalism and it has always been capitalism

  • This makes me question all our industries. If they did it with everyday tech, why not more important aspects of our industries? If we cured cancer, the health industry couldn't charge $10,000 for chemotherapy. If we found a better alternative to oil, those industries would suffer. If we took up nuclear power, we wouldn't need coal powered plants. How many technologies are being throttled because of big tech? How much better could humanity be, if we lynched a few corporations?

  • This is the reason Nikola Tesla was not chosen because he would have gave us free energy.

  • Great content, I feel like 5 seconds watching 17 minutes video, that's a good youtuber

  • this angers me bc we're just creating unnecessary waste :(

  • This is sad and probably make some people angry. But i feel like we couldn't 100% blame them either. Want it or not this world run because well money, everyone need it. The movie i think say it the best, when the old lady get angry with the scientist. She needs that job to feed her family and what the scientist created can make her lose her job.

  • It’s called capitalism, handicapping innovation for profit

  • Thats why the fashion industry is just a scam for your mindset. Same wirh cosmetics. Cancel them!

  • Why don't we just charge a subscription to indestructible products?

  • I don't know about iphone but ipad is best product for students ,no other company can provide better version

  • Thanks for the video

  • Great as allways! Thx

  • The quarrelsome belgian relatively ski because course spindly found against a deranged undershirt. dry, luxuriant withdrawal

  • Here in lebanon the LED bulb actually lasts less than incandescent because of unstable electricity which apparently affects the LED ones more

  • It's just plain hilarious how ISprofile video's like this can brainwash people so badly lmao, social media the biggest platform to manipulate and brainwash people. It's like the days when people seen something on Facebook so it had to be true lol.

  • "Well we obviously can't change how people get money or access to resources so we must make products worse just to keep people working BS jobs!"

  • >sell your house your target demographic doesn't own houses and likely won't until their parents die

  • I had a Samsung Note 8 with a cracked screen and back glass. I was told that to replace both I had to replace the whole case. UBreakIFix said that the color of my phone was discontinued. I told them they could change the color. I was then told that they weren't permitted to do that because of their contract. I either had to live with a cracked screen and back glass or buy a new phone.

  • In the end is all Greed.

  • If it don't last don't buy another...

  • Why fall into the trap of upgrading your phone more than every 2 years????

  • I remember the Maytag Repair Man. He was always bored waiting for a repair call. Now Maytags run like electronic burn outs.

  • I installed 5 year & 7 year light bulbs all throughout my house about 8 months ago. Half of them have already failed.

  • Hey, a lot of people never wondered why salt has an expiration date on it, either. They just throw it out and get some more. And most likely, their new salt is older than what they just discarded.

  • I bet they could make tires that could last longer and save the planet doing it sad

  • It's sad to see this channel be about conspiracy theories.. reported and flagged for false information

  • LED bulbs suffer from planned obsolescence.

  • But... but conspiracy does not exists they said

  • Apple products...

  • I hate capitalism.

  • this sounds like a Taylor Swift song

  • the future of planned obsolecense: COSMETIC MICROTRANSACTIONS

  • Thanks god mine is burning for 6000 hours xd Im happy i never fall for that crap the car thing pulled tho, hence i still use my 5 year old mobile phone

  • 3:23 Thats illegal and its called collusion. Do we know anything here? Can a lawyer please chime in and tell me im ignorant or spot on?

  • Don't know about LED lasting..... I mean as per technology intent but when it comes to limited hours the maker is totally relying on your bucks....

  • Uhh... my LED bulbs last at most like a year..

  • Always seemed like planned obsolesence was built into our highway system and modern building as well just didn't know the word for it. Expansion and retraction of steel rebar is a good example.

  • Hmm, a bunch of corporations meeting in secret to decide what we the people are allowed to have? COUGH*builderburg*COUGH

  • im poor and I dont understand apple products or fashion

  • and then, ... you have the dubai led light bulb, that shows, we still want our led lights to last less long then they can :P

  • I wish you would also have mentioned the huge impact on the environment and how much this costs us. Sometimes the industry is charged for it, but in most cases they aren’t or not fairly. Also while many jobs could be lost, there would also be positive transformative effects in society. If you don’t have to replace everything you own every year, you need to spend a lot less, which means you could also work less, or work on other things. This would even partly compensate the job losses. It’s really said how much we are holding ourselves back.

  • Led bulbs don't last. Here in Africa we go through bulbs just like before

  • Imagine getting together with your light bulb homies just to control the market by making worse products. That's some major small dick energy

  • my dad owns a model t that's over 100 years old and still works :)

  • US: "Planned obsolescence is Da WAY" China: "I've mastered your art, I am now your worthy opponent"

  • Right to repairr

  • There should be tech info on how to build your own ever lasting stuff..

  • I love your Videos, as per the smart phones, I find once we get the feature updates for OS platforms it builds and builds and it is software sitting over software once it starts to get laggy for me I reset the phone and it goes back to manufacture default settings and frees up more memory and increases phone speed!.

  • Imagine getting chased out of society because you invented something that lasts forever, oh wait, that already happened to Nikola Tesla...

  • apple's innovation is to make the camera bigger every year

  • Same thing with nylons, which women wore before there was panty hose. The first nylons wore like iron and are still good today if you kept a pair. They were deliberately made weaker and more prone to run so women would have to keep buying them to replace them when they were ruined.

  • The deadpan windchime analogically race because flood prospectively cure underneath a festive radar. wretched, flippant temperature

  • You know the old saying. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for eternity.

  • This shows how easily we can be manipulated, and how only money matters in this world.

  • Unless you know how about Electronics, you can forget about owning LED Lightbulbs because the LEDs fails prematurely due to the driver failing. So yes, LED hasn't blown but the drivers suck.

  • Quick comment about a LED lightbulb... I replaced all of mine twice in the last 4 years, because they stopped working. Sure technology is here, but it brought friends :P

  • Speaking of changing styles, I'm really impressed how Veritasium's style has changed. It has always been fun to watch, but it is now definitely on another level with music, use historical footage, narration which make it a lot more entertaining while keeping it packed with insights and amazing things and ideas.

  • But let's not question the idea of work or corporate driven capitalism as an all good.

  • Not trying to be a prick - but anyone who watched the 2nd/3rd Zeitgeist movies...a decade ago................are just like OK AND?

  • Ok if it is normal to have a cartel keeping the light bulb last for not too long, guess it will also be OK to destroy some of their manufacturing power, am I right? Humanity keeps inventing great things but there's always a bunch of greedy-handed salespersons who make it impossible for people to get real benefits of them. In fact, we could have worked 2 hours a day (as opposed to working 16 hours a day two centuries ago) to get ourselves to the same standards of living we have today. And yet there's always a huge fund or an old Mr. Scrudge who stops us from reaching that.

    • Start a business, have your employees only work 2 hours a day.

  • trash the environment for temporary human gain, or trash nothing but some company's greed, you choose.

  • Everyone needs to be needed, but nobody wants to need someone. It's that hideous strength that dictates inevitably, eventually, only one person will remain. And inevitably, eventually, even that person will perish. And the cause of this extinction is our own obsession to replace ourselves with what we create, so that we no longer need others, nor even need ourselves. We desire to make ourselves obsolete.

  • Have you heard of the electric car? Lol

  • Yeah - and you can forget LED Bulbs - they're crap as well- and intentionally so...

  • "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." Henry Ford - watch "The Money Masters" right here on U tooob - research the "IRS Court Investment System" and what the CAFR is and how everything is operated by contract under corporate statutes and codes that are part of the Law of Admiralty that the whole world operates under. Research the "Uniform Commercial Code".

  • >makes a bulb that lasts forever >sell it to everyone in the world >no one needs any bulb anymore >leaves

    • @Juanitome13 You forgot the knowledge he vowed to keep a secret to Swami Vivekanada

    • @Juanitome13 he tried helping humanity while everyone helped themselves

    • @Die Nosor Po we had one. He was named Nikola Tesla. He intended to give everyone free and wireless electricity forever. He had the technology, the science behind it but not the money. He was starved to death and chased down by bankers and other scientists with more capitalist intentions (Thomas Edison) aaaand he died mysteriously in a hotel room and all of his discoveries were “stolen” and well-kept under rocks to this day

    • We need a hero

  • People should stop using Apple products, but sadly they don't have the knowledge or willingness to get out of Apple's ecosystem prison. Marginal improvement and recycling of designs. I never found Apple designs as enticing. Fashion industry is also another big cause of wastage I this world. Instead of durable products for consumers, they just produce some crap design and hype every season. Same people stay away from such enemies of environment.

  • One good thing about planned obsolescence is that it promotes innovation.

    • How do you think it does? If you plan for obsolescence then you are not pushing for innovation. It will slow down innovation if there is any.

  • Still using a 2015 iPhone 6S+. You have to give apple some credit for still updating my phone to this day. My android lost updates after 2 years.

  • Google Ralph Nader.

  • Let’s ruin the earth, because jobs.

  • This is capitalism

  • That thing with the LED Bulb got me... At That logic I sold my house 2 times in just one week or smth... I dunno but thats not what I'd call "long living". I know thats not comparable to normal LED lifespan and was caused by some fluctuations in the local power grid, but it were only the LED's that broke back then. Still awesome video though!

  • It's the American way to be wasteful consumers. Because we were brainwashed by big companies to want the newest model.

  • Obsolecense is the destruction of the environment.

  • There's a simple explanation for lightbulb lifespans. It has to do with brightness and temperature. Basically, in order to make a nice bright incandescent light bulb, you have to heat the filament very hot, and over time it will slowly sublimate, until eventually the filament becomes too weak and breaks. This can be solved by running the lightbulb at a lower temperature. This gives you a very long lasting light bulb, but it will also be rather dim. Also, it will be less power efficient, since the lower the temperature, the more of the light it emits will be in the infrared spectrum, invisible to human eyes. Halogen light bulbs have an interesting approach to mitigating this problem. They contain a small amount of a halogen, such as iodine or bromine, which is a gas when the lightbulb is on and the insides are hot. What this does is react with the tiny amount of tungsten vapor coming off the filament, turning it into a compound with a much lower vaporization point. This means that instead of "falling" and condensing as fine dust on the bottom of the bulb, it stays around as a gas, and when it comes into contact with the hot filament, the compound breaks down, releasing the halogen and letting the tungsten stick back to the filament. It still isn't perfect, since it won't land in exactly the same place it left, and eventually the filament will get thin and thick spots and end up breaking, but it lets these light bulbs either last longer, or shine brighter without too short a lifespan. The light bulb in the fire station has lasted as long as it has because they're running it at very low brightness. Thus, it doesn't get hot enough for the filament to deteriorate. Of course, it doesn't put out very much light either... Another factor is how often the lightbulb is turned on and off. When this happens, the filament undergoes thermal expansion or shrinking, but since this will never quite be completely even, it puts extra stress on the filament during the tiny amount of time in which it heats or cools. Ever notice that almost every single time an old light bulb dies, it happens the instant you turn the light on? This is why.

  • The LED chips might last for 25,000 hours, but it’s the electronics inside the bulb that control the voltage and current that goes out after a few thousand hours

  • Wow that is so depressing. I disagree with this business model. It's why the earth is being raped and dying

  • I hate that shat. Big companies making stuff just so it breaks.... Annoying AF.

  • LED light bulbs are everlasting? Boy, you are sooooooo wrong. Today are impossible to open LED light bulb to replace cheap parts to extend working time.

  • My grandparents' fridge in Egypt from the 60s still works like new. But our fridge in Canada from a well-known company didn't last 5 years before we needed to get it repaired. Such a shame because we should be trying to create less waste not more. I wish there was something that could be done about this problem

  • @1:30 what else do you think this has happened to? everything! race of greedy bastards that could make the world way better !

  • Be sure and do research on the damage of the blue spectrum of the l.e.d.'s, so while we've made advancements and saved consumption, we're doing it at the expense of lost eyesight. Read up!

  • Is the automotive industry like this too? Make cars with worse gas mileage and such?

  • The old secretly turn a useful and common invention into a monopoly trick. Works every time.

  • Hmm... In Europe that LED light bulb works less than a year. I've been replacing like 10 of them in my house during past 2 years. Osram's GU-10 :-)

  • Using a VPN does NOT always allow you to watch streaming content from other countries. I bought a VPN because of this promise and it didn't work at all. The broadcaster (BBC) was not fooled by this ruse at all. Somehow, they knew that the server was a VPN server and so was likely sending their signal out of country. And they refused to allow me to sign into their service. Its all well and good to advertise a VPN for what it is good for, but this is a false promise. VPNs can not always allow you to watch streaming content from other countries. Becau7se they have no control over how smart the broadcasters are.

  • For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:8) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

  • A couple of years after they came out, I replaced all my lights with the CFL bulbs because they were promised to last longer. This was VERY important because they cost several times as much as any standard incandescent bulb. It doesn't matter that it uses 1/3 the power if it only lasts as long as a regular bulb, you still wont recover your up front investment before you have to buy another one. The first generation of LED bulb I bought was a fiasco, a complete waste of money. But the second generation after the high intensity LED bulbs came out has now replaced most of my CFLs. So far, they are working well.

  • @9:55 That's Alec Guinnes! Young Ben Kenobi. "We just see if BLOOD stains your suit!"

  • Edison is a copycat

  • “Capitalism breeds innovation”

    • It does though. Look at all these innovative new ways to destroy the environment.

  • Agree with this video 100%

  • Ladies and gentlemen; capitalism.

  • OK, I am going to put possibly the dumbest question ever out there. Is this guy Elon Musk?

  • Thats probably why modern phones are made to be so thin and fragile

  • Planned obsolescence creates more waste and hurting the planet

  • So... Capitalism I shall never replace my 10yo laptop for a new one because i can repair it and change hardware pieces easily. Tried a gamer laptop for a while and LOL not worth it. Even with the most expensive PC you can buy, when the expiration date comes, takes more than a minute to open the internet browser (and mine takes 2min in a bad day, so there is that). Nah, i'm fine with my repairable laptop. Important edit: SHOUTOUT TO ALL HACKERS OUT HERE AND THERE AND EVERYWHERE, PROVIDING OPEN SOURCE PRINTING STUFF, MAKING RESPIRATORS FOR HOSPITALS, BREAKING PATENTS SO MORE PEOPLE CAN HAVE ACCESS TO MEDICINE, TEACHING HOW TO CRACK SOFTWARES, AND EVEN THAT GIRL THAT THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FUNNY TO CODE A REPLICA OF A DESIGNER BAG. YA'LL ARE AWESOME!