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


  1. k54dhKJFGiht

    k54dhKJFGiht14 mínútum síðan

    It had always blown me away at how American consumers either didn't know, or willfully shrugged off being ripped off like this! Thank you.

  2. Remnar

    Remnar35 mínútum síðan

    This is why greed is bad. Eventually, it will all come to a screeching halt either by war or lack of resources.

  3. Iqtrab Fatima

    Iqtrab FatimaKlukkustund síðan

    he describes iphone users so well

  4. Carlos Montes

    Carlos MontesKlukkustund síðan

    Greed is what makes this world horrible. Humble yourself and you will be exalted. Exalt yourself and you will be humbled. Crazy how money is just this paper that we as humans add value to it. I'd rather trade and bargain.

  5. DAN G

    DAN GKlukkustund síðan

    Imagine when the doctors working to save and extend our lives they will be ordered to shorten them. Welcome to the present.

  6. Only Me

    Only MeKlukkustund síðan

    So if "perfect" products are theoretically possible, why doesn't someone just set up a crowdfunding or something and make these products without the planned obsolescence for the people that actually want them?

  7. JewwJeww Bees

    JewwJeww BeesKlukkustund síðan

    So basically capitalism working as intended

  8. Case

    Case2 klukkustundum síðan

    Except LED bulbs get dimmer with use, so they're not "everlasting" either, and what's worse, the light gets dim so slowly over time that you don't really notice it until one day you realize your room is a lot darker than it used to be, then you replace the bulb and realize you've been sitting in a much darker environment for who knows how long... :(

  9. Falcon Lopez

    Falcon Lopez2 klukkustundum síðan

    *C A P I T A L I S M* 🤑

  10. Mossy Hollow

    Mossy Hollow2 klukkustundum síðan

    Lifetime bulbs are now called a Check Engine Light.

  11. J Stone

    J Stone2 klukkustundum síðan

    I grew up with a refrigerator that eventually lasted over 20 years. My mother replaced it ,because it looked old fashioned. Think now of printers, which are relatively cheap, but the ongoing cost of ink. And shavers, and ongoing cost of razor cartridges. Etc, etc. I now have yet to have a washing-machine to last more than 5 years. Even minor repairs would cost more than half of a new machine.

  12. Yakup Gecir

    Yakup Gecir2 klukkustundum síðan

    Man went from a light bulb to a cartel of light bulb company’s

  13. Harry Krish

    Harry Krish2 klukkustundum síðan

    I am seeing the strategy coming back for LED bulbs. The bulbs I brought in 2014-2015 are still working , but those brought a year ago are all blown. Businessmen are back in business

  14. Young Whiz

    Young Whiz2 klukkustundum síðan

    Ok, I won't whine about changing a lightbulb. But give me a reliable engine us working class citizens can't afford a new pickup every 15 years. Especially when the price of one goes up 5k a year. My 90s chevy everything in it electronically works fine. My 2000s you can actually trap yourself inside as the door handles start to fail. The window buttons work but no other buttons do.

  15. Sav

    Sav2 klukkustundum síðan

    These are the culprits that destroy our environment. It's not people. It's corporations chasing a dollar, willing to sacrifice anything for their bottom line. Everything should be modular, serviceable and salvageable.

  16. Marcelo Costa

    Marcelo Costa3 klukkustundum síðan

    It is possible to use the quantum entanglement of two linked particles to trigger or stop the clock control, to measure the speed of light in one way?.

  17. Shinigami Lee

    Shinigami Lee3 klukkustundum síðan

    Sometimes conspiracy theories are valid. Anyone who thinks Biden won should get their heads examined!

  18. Dante Yadai Hernandez Chavarria

    Dante Yadai Hernandez Chavarria3 klukkustundum síðan

    It's interesting how this ain't the original title of this video, i guess this new title it's more appealing to the public, and if it isn't i guess Derek will just change it again

  19. ዲ ቤት

    ዲ ቤት3 klukkustundum síðan

    Major Omission: Lewis Lattimer

  20. Matt McGrory

    Matt McGrory4 klukkustundum síðan

    8:50 1929 is your favorite year of the 1930's too?

  21. Stefan Langenhoven

    Stefan Langenhoven4 klukkustundum síðan

    So we all have to buy shitty products because corporations want more money

  22. BurstingVeins1

    BurstingVeins14 klukkustundum síðan

    LoL Iphone had differences? Wut? Iphone 1-8 were basically the same phone and the only difference was the OS version that specifically targeted the version of Iphone for how much performance it allowed. After that they finally started offering different sizes of phones with the same OS performance limitations. ... Yes, my numbers are probably off, I didn't verify, too much work to make a ISboth point😆. But it's not far from the truth.

  23. Aella Lee

    Aella Lee4 klukkustundum síðan

    I mean, I can see the value of having a set timeline for use. However, it's terrible considering the waste. Houses should be able to last because they create a ton of waste. If all phone parts were recyclable and recycled for access to updated tech then I could see it working. Clothes and shoes, if made from natural materials will eventually wear out, and are biodegradable, but I plan to make my own so they have the longest use possible. Once you pick a clothing style, you don't have to worry about trends. But they can be updated, as people used to do before fast fashion.

  24. DB 192

    DB 1925 klukkustundum síðan

    Bravo 👏 👏

  25. iron-lex

    iron-lex5 klukkustundum síðan

    The whole idea about LEDs lasting longer is a joke. They die just as often ime. Sure the diode may live forever, but the driver will surely die.

  26. Josh L

    Josh L5 klukkustundum síðan

    Im really sad that you fell for the clickbait of apples throttling *scandal*. The phones were literally shutting off because of lithium batteries degrading. So apple throttled the performance to stop this. As soon as They replaced the battery performance was normal, hardly planned obsolescence. Y’all act like the average person would replace their battery in the first place. Literally just apple haters blowing up any issue but they also want you to forget about Samsung’s phones that blew up 🥱🥱🥱

  27. Jovan Luković

    Jovan Luković5 klukkustundum síðan

    All hail Stalin and Soviet engineering, my boiler and fridge are 45yo, and running, go buy your Beko.

  28. James P

    James P5 klukkustundum síðan

    I am ok with dynamic obsolescence, I am very against mechanical planned obsolescence. That's just evil and wrong.

  29. kodaloid

    kodaloid5 klukkustundum síðan

    The reason why printers are cheap, but ink refills are expensive.

  30. James P

    James P5 klukkustundum síðan

    Planned obsolescence makes me so angry!

  31. Mark West

    Mark West5 klukkustundum síðan

    I have a Samsung S8 and have had it for 3 contracts on my mobile. i might get a new one at the end of the year.. I hate Apple and their tide in customer policy.

  32. Wendy Peche

    Wendy Peche6 klukkustundum síðan

    Nikola Tesla???

  33. Nathan Johnson

    Nathan Johnson6 klukkustundum síðan

    Hey man, Nathan Johnson from Edmonton Canada here. I am 40 and like many I often wish I could go back and do those 12 years of school all over again.. Would have studied way harder than I did, and appreciated it more. But that's life. I only discovered your channel a month ago and I really like it ! The 15 to 20 minute length works well, and I always feel like I learned something interesting and USEFUL. And you got a nice "medium weight" for science stuff. I would think the average person can understand what your saying, I sure ain't a rocket scientist. Anyways I just wanted to give you a solid compliment on the channel and a well done. I hope this is helping you support your family... SUBSCRIBED 👍 Thanks and keep it up. My brain might actually be 0.314159 grams larger than last month because of VERITASIUM.

  34. Matthew Klepadlo

    Matthew Klepadlo6 klukkustundum síðan

    This is why we can’t have nice things… *…CAPITALISM…*

  35. Timb Scuffage

    Timb Scuffage6 klukkustundum síðan

    im stoned and you just blew my mind

  36. Marc

    Marc6 klukkustundum síðan

    Hence, why we will never live forever

  37. Joel Brown

    Joel Brown7 klukkustundum síðan

    Too bad LED manufacturers put crap electronics in their products.

  38. TrackMediaOnly

    TrackMediaOnly7 klukkustundum síðan

    The real problem is that planned obsolescence reduces the need for a push for innovation. Right now they just make better once they feel the market has slowed down(or projected to). It is why things have mostly only become cheaper to produce with smaller innovation instead of the leaps forward we use to have. As someone once point out it is why we went from the car to the moon in less than 100 years, but now innovation tends to trickle in instead of occurring by great leaps. It hasn't been since more recently when it has become easier for people to break out on their own that we've started to see real innovations again. From every day people or to not so every day people like Elon Musk trying to push the boundaries of our world back to space.

  39. Daniel Kisielow

    Daniel Kisielow7 klukkustundum síðan

    because you break them, i had to take them awayayayayay

  40. Jonathan D

    Jonathan D7 klukkustundum síðan

    the LED bulbs that last forever have been gone for a number of years, back when they were sliding down in price from $10/bulb to $1/bulb were when you get get truly long lasting LED bulbs.

  41. BlankBrain

    BlankBrain8 klukkustundum síðan

    USB-C has many advantages, such as higher current carrying capability and non-specific orientation. The problem is that it's designed to fall apart after three years. The specification should have included ways to make the connector easily replaceable.

  42. Chris Techie

    Chris Techie8 klukkustundum síðan

    Like China designed to break so you have to buy another one

  43. Ahmet Kıpkıp

    Ahmet Kıpkıp8 klukkustundum síðan

    @8:22 wtf is he doing with that

  44. Josh Fredman

    Josh Fredman8 klukkustundum síðan

    The "everlasting" LED bulb is already in decline: I've seen LED bulbs getting cheaper almost by the year, not just in price but in body and quality. You can feel it: The cheap ones are lighter. And you can see it: They have fewer LEDs, running at higher power, which wears them out faster.

  45. vinzent1992

    vinzent19928 klukkustundum síðan

    if by sort of you mean completely wrong

  46. Deepest Tempest

    Deepest Tempest8 klukkustundum síðan

    Basically, it is competition AGAINST the consumers, not other businesses.

  47. Matthew Lancaster

    Matthew Lancaster8 klukkustundum síðan

    Can you do a video explaining inertia and laws of motion my friends misunderstand this, we always argue about the point that a car being damaged in a crash is based on its own mass and resistance to movement not just the size of the truck hitting it. hope this makes sense.

  48. Damocles

    Damocles9 klukkustundum síðan

    Truly the world sucks... and well. It can't be changed.

  49. Christie Richards

    Christie Richards9 klukkustundum síðan

    So the led bulb the part that creates light can last soo much longer. However the small chip in base of them gets fried at the same rate of traditional bulbs burn out... wonder why?

  50. Dean Eff

    Dean Eff9 klukkustundum síðan

    This is why airlines like United are allowed to do whatever they want. Cooperative competition.

  51. Cherry Dragon

    Cherry Dragon9 klukkustundum síðan

    phoebus cartel: we want ONLY 1000 hours of lifespan per lightbulb!! my lightbulb after 4 years: Let there be Light!!

  52. TheUncommonPerson

    TheUncommonPerson9 klukkustundum síðan

    It's basically software updates in a nutshell. They are here for the exact reason.

  53. Dale Greenberg

    Dale Greenberg9 klukkustundum síðan

    2 masks? you call yourself a scientist? puppet boy

  54. Kevin Roth

    Kevin Roth9 klukkustundum síðan

    This surprised you? It’s the same thing the fossil fuel industry has done forever. Stunt growth of innovative new energy sources for profit. It’s the bane of human progress I promise.

  55. Jonny X

    Jonny X9 klukkustundum síðan

    Isn't Apollo the Greek good of light?

  56. Marlou Fat Jesus

    Marlou Fat Jesus10 klukkustundum síðan

    Calling Thanos right now.

  57. Slayer45

    Slayer4510 klukkustundum síðan

    Duh lightbulb cartel 😳

  58. Tom Ato

    Tom Ato10 klukkustundum síðan

    "Welp time to buy a new one" x20 over and over and over and over 🙃

  59. MrDragonin

    MrDragonin10 klukkustundum síðan

    It's an interesting and controversial subject. On one hand we should look at the fundamental idea of "If I'm working hard and buying something, I want it to last" as well as the fact that planned obsolescence simply feels like a controlling device installed into our lives. How many times have you looked at your old phone and thought "It's getting so slow, time to get a new one."? Whereas the fact is that it could be made in a way that makes it last your entire lifetime or so. However, on the other hand, without planned obsolescence what other options do we have to keep a necessary amount of jobs? Do we open a multi-billion dollar company that makes indestructible phones, cars etc. Then produces and sells the exact amount as there are people in the world? Plus a few extra if you really break or lose one and then close the company? One option is outlined in the video, visual/style obsolescence, where you're not being forced to buy something again due to it breaking but pressured to do so to 'keep up with the times', but this would not apply to everything in equal manner. How about technology advancement? If planned obsolescence did not exist, people would have to constantly develop new ideas, innovate and bring improvements in order to drive sales, however, the speed of such advancement would have to be astronomical in order for this idea to work. At the same time, how many brilliant ideas and innovations were thwarted or never started due to planned obsolescence? "We can't develop this product because it's too durable" this line of thinking in and of itself is thwarting technological advancement. IMO we're not a perfect species, planned obsolescence at least for now is somewhat necessary in order to keep our civilization going. However, I am all in for Right to Repair. You should not have to spend an outrageous amount of money to fix a product just to make you think of buying a new one instead. At that point companies just make you spend more money almost out of spite since you don't want to buy the newest model.

  60. Chad Sanborn

    Chad Sanborn10 klukkustundum síðan

    If you can believe that the common lightbulb conspired against people, why is it so hard to accept that Govts and Billionaires do the same thing? Especially when we know the Billionaires of the world hold these same secret meetings. DAVOS, Bilderburg, Bohemian Grove. All these things really exist. Just type "Secret Billionaire Meeting" into your search bar on Duck Duck Go and you will be greeted with page after page of these stories. Lightbulbs are one conspiracy... But what about the others out there?

  61. Rafael S.

    Rafael S.10 klukkustundum síðan

    Same reason there hasn't been a cure for cancer or other terminal diseases. If there was there would be no profit.

  62. Ron Rothrock

    Ron Rothrock10 klukkustundum síðan

    Nikola Tesla ran into this problem. He wanted to make better products, but his ideas didn't continue to make more money so he was essentially blacklisted.

  63. Brenda Walton

    Brenda Walton10 klukkustundum síðan

    So people have jobs, but also trash, debt, and stress. "Ending is better than mending", Brave New World.

  64. Richard Evans

    Richard Evans10 klukkustundum síðan

    You say the cartel couldn't be be forced to break up by competition then go on to say it only lasted 10 years after competition meant reduced sales! "Planned obsolescence" does NOT make things worse, it reduces price, in the case of light bulbs it vastly improves efficiency and it allows for innovation. The idea that cars would last for ever obviously comes from someone who has never looked at an old bike and seen the wear on the chain, or tried to buy a Model T. Metal parts wear out, so do rubber ones. If you're claiming old cars now can't be kept going then you haven't watched the myriad number of car refurb programs on telly, of course they can but the question is who wants a Model T when you can get a more efficient, comfortable, safe and warm new car for less than it takes to refurb a model T . "With design and styling there is no best" - Are you serious? Come on, that's nonsense.

  65. Robothut

    Robothut10 klukkustundum síðan

    Great show up till the end. LED lamps only last a few months before they fail these days. they are designed to run to hot, they push to much current threw the LEDs until they fail early.

  66. Villordsutch

    Villordsutch11 klukkustundum síðan

    A very interesting video especially about the lightbulb cartel. Fascinating to discover that major manufacturers got together, even agreeing to find themselves, all to increase their collective profits. However, I'm sorry to say there's no evidence Henry Ford said, "You can have any colour as long as it's black", though it's reported in his autobiography he did. Even the first few Model T's weren't even black, they where only available in green, blue, red and gray. Eventually it became black, for it dried faster and used less pigment and Ford's "famous quote" became associated with him.

  67. Catherine Y

    Catherine Y11 klukkustundum síðan

    They also just change the necessary tools you need for the phone and then phase them out of sale every few years . (Chargers, headphones)

  68. simpolang

    simpolang11 klukkustundum síðan

    Sounds like COD... Same shiet every year but just new maps. And charge for a brand new

  69. Obscure Mars

    Obscure Mars11 klukkustundum síðan

    Until we become a species that works for the betterment of humanity, and not one that serves a few powerful people, we are headed for doom. I have about 0 faith that we eill ever attain the former..

  70. Takezo San

    Takezo San11 klukkustundum síðan

    problem is we live in a world of FINITE resources

  71. fguare11

    fguare1111 klukkustundum síðan

    Congrats, you discovered how capitalism works. FYI: some old soviet light bulbs are still working to this day.

  72. Eliös

    Eliös12 klukkustundum síðan

    A channel of this quality should normalize the audio levels... *smh*

  73. Miguel Carrillo

    Miguel Carrillo12 klukkustundum síðan

    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.

  74. MiloTheFriend

    MiloTheFriend12 klukkustundum síðan

    I accidentally clicked on this video and I don't regret it

  75. pewpew pew

    pewpew pew12 klukkustundum síðan

    i am wondering if they do this in energy industry

  76. B2 Genuch

    B2 Genuch13 klukkustundum síðan

    Socialists would have a field day with this case of blatant failure by capitalism

  77. Phi6er

    Phi6er13 klukkustundum síðan

    In the comments: People blaming capitalism by pointing out deviations from capitalism. Funny how that works.

  78. ogre lg

    ogre lg13 klukkustundum síðan

    лампочка... кому нужна такая лампочка? Она же ели светит. Накал очень слабый, металл почти не испаряется. При этом она никогда не выключается. Такие лампочки не нужны не только производителям. Они и потребителям такие не нужны. Запланированное устаревание и сверхэкономия на производстве конечно же существует, но не надо путать теплое с мягким. Это дискредитирует гипотезы о настоящих сговорах. Прошла только минута видео, а мне уже отчетливо пахнет говной. Что то последнее время этот канал совсем пробздел. Надо наверно его в чс добавить.

  79. Marek

    Marek13 klukkustundum síðan

    Camping next to Allpe Store for next phone is most american thing that doesnt involve Healthcare.

  80. Vijay Ninel

    Vijay Ninel13 klukkustundum síðan

    I still have incandescent light bulbs which are designed to last 10000 hours. They used to be made by a company called Litetronics in India. They were mostly sold in the U.S to the maintenance industry.

  81. Onac

    Onac14 klukkustundum síðan

    You can drive cars with adding water but the government want to use gasoline so we can keep buying it

  82. rahman niggs

    rahman niggs14 klukkustundum síðan

    Wooow, I love this video

  83. Iigmy Bigly

    Iigmy Bigly14 klukkustundum síðan

    And people refuse to believe world leaders are conspiring to direct the world and market in the directions they want. We all have seen what terrible humans will do for power and y'all think it stops in the government? 🤡

  84. Vandalay Industries

    Vandalay Industries14 klukkustundum síðan

    Commie democrats is why we can't have nice things.

  85. Darwin Greenheart

    Darwin Greenheart15 klukkustundum síðan

    moral of the story: rich people suck, and poor people demand it

  86. Arya Mahendraker

    Arya Mahendraker15 klukkustundum síðan

    This is what Apple is doing,now I understood the geniusness of jobs

  87. Gill Hantson

    Gill Hantson12 klukkustundum síðan

    This is what every company does, has done, and will do.

  88. mikin lirou

    mikin lirou15 klukkustundum síðan

    world. He pointed out that while the light bulb was still working, the company that manufactured it wasn't...

  89. HATman

    HATman15 klukkustundum síðan

    I'm glad that you bring this issue up, I really am. But, why would less required work 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 be a bad thing?

  90. BlueHeart29

    BlueHeart2915 klukkustundum síðan

    i have not had any LED light bulb that i did not have to change in my house in the last 4 years, so... maybe that's just another sales pitch.

  91. Hareesh Nair

    Hareesh Nair15 klukkustundum síðan

    Comrade Derek

  92. mikin lirou

    mikin lirou15 klukkustundum síðan

    The covid vaccine is planned obsolescence.

  93. EnergeticWaves

    EnergeticWaves16 klukkustundum síðan


  94. Blanca Maria [Müller-Lagunez]

    Blanca Maria [Müller-Lagunez]16 klukkustundum síðan

    Same with nylon pantihose.

  95. Dragos Dragu

    Dragos Dragu16 klukkustundum síðan

    Big Paharma has the same mindset

  96. Deepanshu Sharma

    Deepanshu Sharma16 klukkustundum síðan

    best channel on ISboth hands down

  97. Leigh Foulkes

    Leigh Foulkes17 klukkustundum síðan

    I've always wondered if engineers make products today to break after warranty expired.

  98. Steven Johnson

    Steven Johnson17 klukkustundum síðan

    In Manitoba Canada the government convinces the population that the newer lightbulbs they promote are more “environmentally friendly” despite the fact they last less then the older incandescent ones and create more waste.

  99. gavin townsend

    gavin townsend17 klukkustundum síðan

    and yet ive had to replace 2 led bulbs in a 1/2 yr and pretty sure the pack said 5000hrs

  100. Judith Parker

    Judith Parker17 klukkustundum síðan

    So weapons could use this technology ??

  101. K.NIN

    K.NIN17 klukkustundum síðan

    i thought planned obsolescence was common knowledge in all forms

  102. KC MOJICA

    KC MOJICA17 klukkustundum síðan

    So basically a good/useful product + a lower lifespan of the product = more money.