If you strip our capitalistic society down to bare bones, it’s all about “buy stuff, sell stuff.” Now within this simple concept, there must be a supply of goods and a supply of buyers with which to purchase these goods. Because of this, Men Who Think Great Thoughts created the notion of “planned obsolescence.”
This idea holds that products have a predetermined moment where they will become obsolete, like a light bulb that eventually needs to be replaced. This mainstay of production serves both the consumer and the manufacturer… well, until taken to the extreme.
For instance, there is a light bulb located within a fire house in Livermore, California, which has been functioning for over 110 years. While the inhabitants of the fire house appreciate this bulb, if all light bulbs were constructed in this fashion, manufacturers would be few and far between.
On the other hand, have you ever replaced a blown light bulb and had the new one flash and die just as you screwed it in? Indeed, this would line the pockets of light bulb salesmen but would probably cause an uprising amongst consumers. This, in turn, would precipitate an increase in muggings of light bulb salesmen laughing their way to the bank.
One place planned obsolescence affects me is in the wearing of blue jeans. As we all know, the longer we wear a well-built denim garment, the better it feels. Notice I did not say “the better it looks.” For once again, we all know the longer we wear that same well-built denim garment, the worse it looks. I would wear my jeans until everything but my naughty bits were exposed. And then sadly hum taps as I buried my old friend in the waste basket.
Slamming on the breaks and shifting into reverse, timeless is what an author wants his work to become. But sometimes, due to a dated storyline, an obscure writing style or anyone of a thousand other things, unplanned obsolescence can slip in and void the work.
In conclusion, when that light bulb blows in the dark of night, stay calm, knowing that a replacement is nearby. But remember, I won’t say that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the incandescent light bulb in 1879. But there was some scuttlebutt about an Englishman named Frederick de Moleyns receiving a patent for the first incandescent light bulb in 1841.
Ain’t life funny?