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




  • The sad thing is that the majority of the population doesn't have the means to afford a new car every 5 years!!! Thus keeping them in the poverty level!!!

    Richard FullerRichard Fuller5 minuuttia sitten
  • so.. vintage is better?

    daydreamdaydream6 minuuttia sitten
  • You couldn't imagine people and, by extension, market enterprise would be driven by planned obsolescence -despite all present-day evidence.... well done. Oh and people knew that this was happening.... you're just immune to the greatest conspiracy theory of all: the human condition...

    Mecca MilesMecca Miles12 minuuttia sitten
  • It seems the patent held by company should become obsolete for the competition to catch-up and more innovation to happen.

    n2201n220136 minuuttia sitten
  • Dislikes are probably from those companies follows obsolescence planning...

    VENKAT SANTOSH YerasinghVENKAT SANTOSH Yerasingh37 minuuttia sitten
  • If more of the general population had skills and self reliance, and spent time making their LIFE, they wouldn't rely on planned obsolescence to make a LIVING. Crazy how this planet dis-functions...

    Hannah RoseHannah Rose38 minuuttia sitten
  • There has to be a nalance thats why we have allot if platic in the ocean and now in our babies😓. Dont make or buy cheap products

    None YallNone Yall48 minuuttia sitten
  • This is just sucking off capitalism more than I have ever seen. Oh boy

    unknownunknown53 minuuttia sitten
  • Nvidia and AMD is what comes to mind when watching this.

    FubukiFubuki55 minuuttia sitten
  • Great video, but LED bulbs are still engineered to fail. Overdriving elements and underspecifying components is how they do it. Look up the Philips Dubai only LED bulbs for a counter example

    oohms88oohms88Tunti sitten
  • This reminds me of Tiberius and the unbreakable glass

    Flavius AetiusFlavius AetiusTunti sitten
  • You know because of this there's a huge amount of trash all around the world you buy something it doesn't work you throw it away by a new one doesn't work you throw it away now you have a big pile of trash that could have been prevented if you had 1 thing that worked forever

    Abel MedinaAbel MedinaTunti sitten
  • Nope, they are also making LED light bulbs fail way before their time by doing tricks on the circuit that driver the LEDs. The initial stock of the finned Feit Electric LED bulbs I got from Costco all failed mysteriously right about the warranty period. I think this is also how many CFLs also had shitty lifetimes.

    Zing StingZing StingTunti sitten
  • Isn't capitalism great?

    TheFlakyBiscuitTheFlakyBiscuitTunti sitten
  • In the 0's and 70's I grew up with a black rotary phone, it never dropped calls, and it didn't cost much. Now my phone costs $400 and poops out within a year or two and I have to shell out $400 more dollars. This makes me extremely mad.

    whisperingsagewhisperingsage2 tuntia sitten
  • Greed, disgusting greed. Burn it all.

    LetoZethLetoZeth2 tuntia sitten
  • Hi Derek, after watching your video to the end I am surprised by your statement that led bulbs last longer than any! Here in Argentina they do not last two years, be it Osram, Phillips or any other brand. We almost always buy the most expensive ones hoping for the best result, but this is not the case. We have verified it many times because we are careful to write on the edge of the bulb the date we installed it. The record was 1 year and 6 months !!! I would also like to add in this comment that the use of ceiling lights and other Led lighting fixtures that are completely discarded when only one of their bulbs burns, further increases the amount of industrial waste that is dumped every day around the world. .

    Anahí EchazarretaAnahí Echazarreta2 tuntia sitten
  • Welcome to consumption... Collusion with the light bulb manufactures...

    Jim PikoulisJim Pikoulis2 tuntia sitten
  • We can start by saying most inventors are unknown because their patents or invention rights are absorbed by the company they work for. In other situation, "stolen". Using the video as reference. Was the filament in the bulb of Lewis Latimer??? How many have heard of inventor Lewis Latimer? Allow me to share.. Edison could not get the his filament in his bulbs to last very long, 14 hours max as stated in the video. What was not stated and never told, is the truth. Which would be; In 1880, Edison got wind that an inventory Lewis Latimer who worked for a company called Maxim a competitor of Edison had created a filament that lasted many times longer than his own. Edison refused to work along with, or share the vacuum glass bulb with Maxim his competition. Instead he did what all companies do. He offered Lewis Latimer a job, for higher pay and a lab of his own to create; only if he came to work for him and if he signed over his invention rights for his longer lasting filament that he created and any other inventions that were made while he was employed by Edison or be an "engineer" Because of the longer lasting filament invented by Lewis Latimer. This enabled electric lighting to be installed within homes and throughout streets for the first time. A few other things that Latimer invented that we use still this very day. He invented the bathroom for passenger trains, he drafted and designed (for patent submission) including the wire scheme from only the thoughts and last minute verbal instructions for the telephone for Alexander Bell, who had came to Latimer at the last minute. Latimer worked overnight and the patent got submitted only hours before another inventor attempted to submit their idea for the telephone. When elevators were first invented and installed in buildings the death rate was very high. He invented the safety elevator; he added the brake system used today, he invented the air purifier. Which improved the sanitary conditions of hospitals of that time by decreasing the spread of germs. I bet you're saying why didn't you learn any of this in school. Idk?? Because it should be taught. Oh one more thing I forgot to mention. Lewis Latimer was the son of parents who were slaves. He was born into slavery but escaped before all this. That he eventually had to win his freedom in court with abolitionist support after being captured. What if he was not saved and killed which was the sentence of an escaped slave.🤔🤔🤔 Things they don't teach you in school.. again I'm just sharing info nothing implied.

    Mr MxyzptlkMr Mxyzptlk2 tuntia sitten
  • Those leds don't last near as long as advertised. Coincidence?

    DogeLifeDogeLife2 tuntia sitten
  • It's actually sad that he didn't mention the "Dubai Lamps" that range from 1 - 3 W

    Soul LessSoul Less3 tuntia sitten
  • I don't understand why everyone thinks LED bulbs last forever; I feel like I've had to replace LED bulbs a lot more often than I had to replace traditional bulbs.

    Elven RangerElven Ranger3 tuntia sitten
  • Well I'll tell you who planned obsolescence is really bad for: the environment. We, consumers, are showered with guilt about how much garbage we produce, and yet from the other end of society we are given absolutely no choice; forced to throw out mountains of trash so the people who made the trash can also make a profit. Corporations, more than anyone, are responsible for our climate change and pollution problems and yet nobody is bothering them because they have more power than the government.

    Brodie KnightBrodie Knight3 tuntia sitten
  • Watching this on the iPad I got 2 months ago, I start to worry remembering the updates every month

    JT WeiJT Wei4 tuntia sitten
  • Hope people don't think this is just a history lesson. Every corporation today is doing this exact thing with appliances, cars, technology and even clothing.

    AggnogAggnog5 tuntia sitten
  • Plot twist he's working for the lighting conspiracy and this whole video was to sell led light bulbs

    Dabbo PabbloDabbo Pabblo5 tuntia sitten
  • Planned adolescence.. when your teen behaves naughty after being a sweet kid

    Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
  • hmmmm I wonder what other international cliques are controlling

    Jack DoolsJack Dools5 tuntia sitten
    • It doesn't even matter No seriously think about it. If they were controlling the media then how could you tell

      Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
  • Says so with an Apple watch...

    pablo bellaspablo bellas6 tuntia sitten
  • Interesting video I really wish my own experience with LED lightbulbs matched up with their supposed lifespan. Seems to be another variant of planned obsolescence most likely with the LED driver circuitry itself and not the actual LED elements. I installed LED light bulbs in every fixture in the house trying a few different brands and I've had more frequent failures of these LED bulbs as I ever had with regular incandescent bulbs. Do some research on the Dubai LED light bulbs and you'll see some interesting information about how they use a lot more LED filaments (driven less aggressively) for the same light output to create longevity compared to what is used today in typical American LED light bulbs.

    ekskotousekskotous6 tuntia sitten
  • Dude ur in my hometown

    Morgan ElizabethMorgan Elizabeth6 tuntia sitten
    • Go say hello 😁

      Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
  • I have had 5 out of 8 GE 9watt bulbs go out or go very dim within 5000 hours of operation. I think they are rated for 50,000 hours. Not buying GE led products again.

    Whoimia?Whoimia?6 tuntia sitten
  • Capitalism - destroying the planet for profit

    I.K.I.K.6 tuntia sitten
    • Old fashioned facism will take it a way

      Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
  • humans are absolutely terrible

    seriouslyWeirdseriouslyWeird6 tuntia sitten
    • It's not even the corporation its the people who want the system to keep going.. shareholders... bosses .. It's a collective terrible

      Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
  • Sounds like they should also be sued for wasting resources just so they can make more money, yet governments want the people to pay more Green Taxes, sounds like who needs to pay those extra taxes is Apple and other companies

    Sajin688Sajin6887 tuntia sitten
  • I have been watching some videos and I was thinking about investing, but still don't know where to start from

    Roberto MarkRoberto Mark7 tuntia sitten
    • I have been able to gather enough funds to buy Bitcoin i can't wait to finally kick off

      Melissa Jo'sMelissa Jo's5 tuntia sitten
    • All nice recommendations

      Melissa Jo'sMelissa Jo's5 tuntia sitten
    • Mrs Catherine Fx + 1...... 7.... 7..... 3..... 8.... 3..... 9... 5... 5..... 7... 6

      Emmanuel DennisEmmanuel Dennis5 tuntia sitten
    • Tell her I referred you please

      Emmanuel DennisEmmanuel Dennis5 tuntia sitten
    • @Richard Cross you can also reach her online

      Emmanuel DennisEmmanuel Dennis5 tuntia sitten
  • i would like to believe you and vsauce would be great friends

    Director TaffyDirector Taffy7 tuntia sitten
  • We need to rethink our economic approach which is heavily depending on growth. Only then it is possible to overcome planned obsolecence. Economic growth is killing our planet cause it acts like a cancer killing its host.

    Cornelius CocineroCornelius Cocinero7 tuntia sitten
  • So we really don't have a choice to pollute this world if we want to live in it because the companies don't create products that last. They use more resources than needed in order to drive up their sales. People are then blamed for their personal wastefulness when it is actually the companies' faults. Money and corruption run this world. The two cannot be separated. And everything is always at the expense of the general public.

    Noah SmithNoah Smith7 tuntia sitten
  • Veritasium and Mark Rober should collab together

    Elijah HansonElijah Hanson7 tuntia sitten
  • So that is what Ford, GM and Chrysler do with there products. I always wondered why there cars after the 70s started falling apart after a few years.😄😎😳😳🚗🚐

    Albert ArmsteadAlbert Armstead7 tuntia sitten
  • We can't have nice things, because people suck! And no, planned obsolescence is NOT good! NEVER! Earth has limited resources. Let's not waste them!

    Pola & TigerPola & Tiger8 tuntia sitten
  • Thanks for this, I am now not going to replace my phone for at least another year

    Marc KershawMarc Kershaw8 tuntia sitten
  • Very good my friend.

    Tom DormanTom Dorman8 tuntia sitten
  • Now think about cars.....

    Jebust ChristJebust Christ8 tuntia sitten
    • The movie? Life is a highway 🎵yeah great movie 🤣

      Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
  • How many engineers does it take to screw up a lightbulb?

    kirby urnerkirby urner8 tuntia sitten
    • A new take on the original me likey

      Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
    • 🤣🤣

      Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
  • Lol, the LED bulbs I buy last 3-4 months before dying, what are you talking about?

    Andrew ReslerAndrew Resler8 tuntia sitten
  • Who would've guessed companies will always put profits first and consumers second

    ArrebolArrebol9 tuntia sitten
  • So basically I have no power on things I own.... So anyways....

    ekansh guptaekansh gupta9 tuntia sitten
  • so the answer is capitalism ok

    astyasty9 tuntia sitten
  • Any company that initiates planned obsolescence should be liable for the waste they produce when their products become obsolete and the consumer is unable to repair them.

    Bee VBee V9 tuntia sitten
    • You are right.. they could be creating a market in waste services

      Tony SudaTony Suda5 tuntia sitten
  • The next world war will not be with countries. It will be with corporations for profits. And it will be sooner than we all think.

    A CitizenA Citizen9 tuntia sitten
  • You should make a vid about the original Luddites

    Backwardsman95Backwardsman959 tuntia sitten
  • Realy liked this video.

    itsKontra atitsKontra at9 tuntia sitten
  • Great video and good info... but design/styling/fashion comments were that of a philistine. Cynicism is temping around topics of design but that is no replacement for real insights. Enjoyed this otherwise.

    Sebastian JSebastian J9 tuntia sitten
  • How weird, I thought capitalism was supposed to create the best, most efficient outcomes for consumers...?

    TacticalOtter2TacticalOtter29 tuntia sitten
  • I still feel like I am changing my LED bulbs just as often as the old filament bulbs.

    Aaron SuchyAaron Suchy10 tuntia sitten
  • You actually thought that human greed wouldn't do that? Make this a series covering things like printer ink and internet providers, they provide a good picture of greed.

    JuxsinJuxsin10 tuntia sitten
  • I just wear my straight jeans until they become out of style and continue wearing them come back in style again. In other words, I only wear straight jeans and give zero F’s what anyone think of my style, including my wife.

    tuyinctuyinc10 tuntia sitten
  • Wow why are there so many dislikes? Kids forced to refer youtube due to online classee??

    Abhijith I SAbhijith I S10 tuntia sitten
  • Now just think - big companies and governments do this all the time with just about everything. It's all about keeping you dependent on buying their products and keeping you paying taxes for "your protection."

    DoikDoik10 tuntia sitten
  • Why does it surprise anyone? All industries do this. Why do you think there’s been zero increase in the efficiency of gasoline or fuel oil since it’s invention. It’s left up to the car makers. Also for a more modern thought, look at Apple and them using components that they know have a certain lifespan so that people feel forced to buy a new phone every 2 to 3 years. It’s forced obsolescence and inefficiencies. My grandmothers had the same TV for 40 years, I’ve gone through five of them in 10. Other industries do it by increasing specifications like Camera companies.

    Eric In SFEric In SF10 tuntia sitten
  • Yay Capitalism! /sarcasm

    Solar GeneralSolar General10 tuntia sitten
  • Imagine this process but in your phones, cars, homes, and anything of the modern era

    Ruel Lindsay IIRuel Lindsay II10 tuntia sitten
  • if the fiber of that movie was real, we could reduce polution a lot. those resources and workers would just shift to another industry. the industrial revolution would be impossible if the agricultural revolution never existed. the people went to the cities t find jobs and power the economy. If we have more eficient produtcs we can shift our production capacity for another things. but this is capitalism, and the companies just stick with their own invenction, so it needs to be always profitable.

    Diogo T7Diogo T710 tuntia sitten
  • "but capitalism breeds innovation!!"

    Jonas BrownJonas Brown10 tuntia sitten
  • You've been screwed do something about it

    Red lightRed light10 tuntia sitten
  • The problem nowadays is that LED bulbs work, only if you have a stable current all the time. I bought a lot of them, but in a sudden short circuit, almost half of them stopped working and they had less than 6 months old...

    MissMariela100MissMariela10010 tuntia sitten
  • No, this is why we're not a spacefaring, multiplanetary civilisation who have solved all our problems such as poverty and energy. Because humans are too focused on the short term, making money, winning wars, conquering other land and people, instead of furthering our technology and ensuring our survival as a species.

    BweanlshBweanlsh11 tuntia sitten
  • This really starting to sound like an apple callout........ and i like it XD

    Dakota BirmeleDakota Birmele11 tuntia sitten
  • The amount of things that I believe exist that just aren’t out for the public for monetary reasons. I’m sure there’s a definite cure for cancer right now there’s no way there’s not but if you could just get cured then you wouldn’t have to pay for constant treatment

    QUINCHOQUINCHO11 tuntia sitten
  • Sadly, OSRAM LED lights are having a lifespan of 2 years tops...

    NoSuchThingNoSuchThing11 tuntia sitten
  • More good reasons to pray for an extinction event.

    Nevar StopmeNevar Stopme11 tuntia sitten
  • capitalism literally preventing humanity to progress in action

    boi lealboi leal11 tuntia sitten
  • This is why human civilization is in an unsustainable addiction to consumer products and fossil fuels. You name it, capitalism destroyed it.

    Dakota ColeDakota Cole11 tuntia sitten
  • Apple sheep herding through the doors by the genius sheep herders lol

    Real100TalkReal100Talk11 tuntia sitten
  • Because folks is stupid AF! You have 1 light bulb runs forever.... Sell the bulb, the generator that powers it needs .... Seriously!? Oldest con in tge book. Norelco electric razor runs for ages still have my dads and it is old, replaced blades.... Further, bulbs break. ... even if it runs forever need brighter, smaller etc... No conspiracy just really greedy and short sighted humans living a fear based life... Besides: World is flat - turtles all the way down...

    David LanierDavid Lanier11 tuntia sitten
  • planned obsolescence should be illegal honestly, and companies doing it while also making it harder and harder to get stuff fixed is just evil

    LeoVomendLeoVomend11 tuntia sitten
  • Well also with led bulbs they being designed to fail, as they pushed to their heat limit, all except the Dubai bulb which has more Chips but at a lower currency.

    Danny DDanny D11 tuntia sitten
  • Maybe it is true that in the US LED lightbulbs last for 30 years, but here in Brazil it barely lasts a year.

    Mariniel GalvãoMariniel Galvão12 tuntia sitten
  • nice :D

    rope CSrope CS12 tuntia sitten
  • My light bulb promises 12 000 hours of light, and came with a three-year warranty. It cost like 7 euros (and came in a pack of two). I got it over three years ago and it’s still burning bright. I swear to god no other object I’ve had or will ever have is gonna be as good as that light bulb.

    movieez_movieez_12 tuntia sitten
    • That is to say, I very much agree that I’ll probably move out before that thing goes out.

      movieez_movieez_12 tuntia sitten
    • Also, I bought it from my next-door grocery store. Not even a mall/supermarket, but a tiny ass corner store with only one shelf for stuff that isn’t food/drinks.

      movieez_movieez_12 tuntia sitten
  • I've had many LED Bulbs burn out already, and now if you go to the light bulb aisle the LED bulbs have many different options that all have different hours of expected use. So I don't believe LED has solved this issue. I believe the light bulb manufacturers are still building in failure.

    Paul ColemanPaul Coleman12 tuntia sitten
  • Oohhhhhh now do Tuskegee/Guatemala/Operation Mockingbird. So much of what we claim to know is manipulated.

    Tim OakleyTim Oakley12 tuntia sitten
  • Now you also understand why pharmaceutical cartels develop treatments and not cures.

    Blimey CrikeyBlimey Crikey12 tuntia sitten
  • apple isn't the most valuable company, that'd be the saudi run oil company.

    Chase JordanChase Jordan12 tuntia sitten
  • Well, he is not speaking honestly, as his main interest his supporters, who partially dictate what to speak.

    darka kaminasdarka kaminas12 tuntia sitten
  • It's basically that our minds haven't evolved to get up to speed with the pace of development, which corporates take a huge advantage of in the name of innovation.

    Anirudh RAnirudh R13 tuntia sitten
  • Many blame capitalism for these trends, that's like blaming the tool for shoddy work. Rather, blame the culture of consumerism.

    Cameron Luke WilsonCameron Luke Wilson13 tuntia sitten
  • When I was about 12 and the iPhone 5 came out turned to my friend and told him “they probably already have the 12 figured out but they release a feature every year to get people hype”. I was woke before it was a term.

    kedikedi13 tuntia sitten
  • Okay but why didn't light bulbs in the USSR last longer?

    Free LeechFree Leech13 tuntia sitten
  • Nokia

    kedikedi13 tuntia sitten
  • Planned obsolescence is disgusting. Telling us to save the planet.

    Mi giMi gi14 tuntia sitten
  • Love your T shirt

    OTOPHILAOTOPHILA14 tuntia sitten
  • you had my finger hovering over the unsubcribe button when you mocked Man in the White suits Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. and followed it up with further slyly derogratoty comments! stick to science, and leave the film criticism to the appropraite experts. I'll let it slide this once... .(wow. i'm surprised at how genuinely annoyed i am!)

    ben prastitisben prastitis14 tuntia sitten
  • Sounds like what Democrats excel at: Collusion.

    S LS L14 tuntia sitten
  • Thomas Edison is the father of the light bulb.

    S LS L14 tuntia sitten
  • Alex Jones was right... about Everything.

    S LS L14 tuntia sitten
  • "Right to repair" cash for clunkers did more harm and cost jobs to manufacture the parts required to keep better quality vehicles on the road. But hey, global warming,right?

    Jason HamiltonJason Hamilton14 tuntia sitten
  • In 2010 barakkk hussien obama gave wuhan china, specifically, 35,500,000 US tax dollars. Wuhan china hired Charles lieber, was a Harvard professor of chemical engineering and leading nanotechnology expert. He was paid approximately 1,750,000 dollars for both designing a chemical lab, in wuhan china, and working in that lab. He was indicted, along with two of three Chinese spies caught stealing biological technology, the other Chinese spy had a year long sexual relationship with congress member Jerry swallowell ( a democrat that is STILL in office). The wuhan flu #2 is the engineered biological attack, that is the vehicle, to make people run to an inoculation that does not protect anyone from getting the coronovirus. First hand experience with the fact that it does not work as a vaccine from the coronivirus allows me to have the on. The fact that the pharmaceutical cartels that manufacture the genetherapy are exempt from repercussions and responsibility is enough cause to not get injected with a " vaccine" that has been waiting for a vehicle to deliver for years. Good luck and be safe, God Bless.

    Jason HamiltonJason Hamilton14 tuntia sitten