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

  • Gruust

    NordVPN, eh? CIA sniffers included?

  • Gruust

    In the end the problem is that regular poeple don't have a clue about power. They don't care and relinquish it voluntarily with every action they perform. It's part of the perma-revolution scam called "capitalism". Steve Jobs, the hero. Says it all.

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    really reasso

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    Simon Wang

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  • Dan Genovese
    Dan Genovese


  • Samuel Caster
    Samuel Caster

    The absorbing gore-tex exceptionally bathe because beach lastly join beyond a complete algeria. closed, rotten mailman

  • Chris War
    Chris War

    Do we se a problem with consumerism and mass waste displaced disposal of objects that cannot be recycled?

  • David Do
    David Do

    The terrible actor phytogeographically spoil because vision demographically pretend unlike a trite pest. disastrous, thundering bait

  • Fahd S
    Fahd S

    you missed the other side of the coin - Planned obsolescence helps to create a cyclic economy, which means an average person can earn a salary every month. Without this, its true you can buy products that last longer, but there's no guarantee that you will earn a salary every month

  • cengeb

    LED is already OBSOLETE...OLEDS are coming, totally different concepts

  • cengeb

    And mostly f APPLE

  • cengeb

    they where way ahead of their time, then the car industry copied it

  • cengeb

    But stuff is much more efficient, having it last long, is not economical either, but now fridges are much more efficient, ya lucky if ya get 10 years out of a fridge, years ago 23 years, but they where energy hogs. Either way ya don't save money, ya gotta buy a new one

  • James Hetfield
    James Hetfield

    صح لسانك ...

  • Carbage Man
    Carbage Man

    The solution is not government. The _problem_ is government.

  • Velderyx R
    Velderyx R

    Title: "we can't have nice things" Tupperware with lifetime insurance: *laugh so hard*

  • Sonnivate

    If you want to fight evil, address it by its name. This is capitalism.

  • Phil Smolowitz
    Phil Smolowitz

    The complex wall encouragingly retire because lock postnatally crack via a defective novel. crabby, exotic breakfast

  • Sean Murphy
    Sean Murphy

    Nice corporate morality America.... Go team go...

  • philosopherhobbs

    I've been fully behind the right to repair movement for a while but this taught me some new things. It's also an interesting issue from an economic perspective (and as a capitalist). Socialist are always quick to jump on things like this in the name of burning down the system (and eventually starving millions to death). However, companies have a rational interest in profit. Without profit you can't exist (people and companies), and just as workers think they should profit from their work, companies have an equal right to profit. Some actions by companies cross over into something like crony capitalism where instead of the government taking up one side of the relationship, other businesses do. The real problem though is that consumers become "fans" of a certain company, stop using their brain, and therefore stop voting for that company with their money. If iPhone users just used their brain and stopped buying iPhones and let Apple know that they won't tolerate certain practices, then they wouldn't have to keep putting up with said practices.

  • Aaron Thomas
    Aaron Thomas

    "Alright boys, it's time to make these LEDs last less than a year."

  • joshua abbott
    joshua abbott

    It’s simple physics The element in a lightbulb fails because of expansion and contraction of the element, being turned on heating up and then being turned off and allowed to cool. The fact that the bulb has never been turned off. Therefore it has never expanded or contracted so it has never become brittle. The bulb will remain lit until whatever the element is made of is depleted.

  • Jim Kirkland
    Jim Kirkland

    Greed might just be the death of humanity.

  • Aaron Thomas
    Aaron Thomas

    V: "Known as planned obsolescence" Me: "Sounds like Apple" V: "Let's talk about Apple now".

  • Dynamic Emotions
    Dynamic Emotions

    I love how he logically roasted Apple

  • Diego Herrera
    Diego Herrera

    Great video!

  • Al-Imran Nayeem
    Al-Imran Nayeem

    It's just sad that so much of the unsustainable resources are wasted to make things last shorter so that only some people get to profit. thoughts ?

  • Aaron Lee
    Aaron Lee

    My LED TV last 4 years+ and it is broken now, I immediately thought of manufacturer purpose make this happened and I turn out to be correct. I didn't even know my guess has a name called planned obsolescence. Now I am thinking the bad attitude consumer support and authorized repair shop are also part of the plan!!

  • tobias carlsson
    tobias carlsson

    greed is why we dont have nice things.

  • Todd Scott
    Todd Scott

    I think you should fact check the LED part of this. Yes the LEDs themselves last forever but the power supplies only seem to last about 2500 hours.

  • greyztone

    10:02 "The academy award nomination was for best screenplay.... I kid you not." I don't get it. Why would you be kidding? Seems like an interesting idea and the clip you showed was fine.

  • violets are purple not blue you twat
    violets are purple not blue you twat

    so....capitalism sucks and is slowly destroying us. we been knew but this was a great take

  • Ignacio Aurtenechea
    Ignacio Aurtenechea

    As always, the problem is Capitalism. That is why any other system that is different is going to be the enemy and not just different. You make a good product and people are out of work. That simple sentence tells you that we are wrong. We work to create defective products so we can keep working to replace them. I can't think of a more silly idea for a society.

  • Paul Ultsch
    Paul Ultsch

    If people are serious about climate change and landfills filling up they need to fight for the right to repair and against planned obsolescence

  • Philippe Elsass
    Philippe Elsass

    Sorry led bulbs aren't that durable either.

  • RTXonerix

    So, Corporate Greed is the answer to why we can't have nice things

  • takitezy7

    The majority of stuff that is made from China, exported to the world is cheaply manufactured garbage, made dirt cheap and sold at a considerably inflated price. The products made exclusively for the Chinese Domestic Market is super AAA grade quality.

  • Iwmar

    How is any of this legal?

  • Keno Redeker
    Keno Redeker

    AYYY its the marc rober outro

  • Joseph Robillard
    Joseph Robillard

    Like to point out people were ABLE to buy a car every two years back then. Balance in all things. Every time I get a step ahead something needs replaced. Getting sick of it.

  • The T-34
    The T-34

    Humans are disgusting

  • Jedi Wildcloud McMoonDog
    Jedi Wildcloud McMoonDog

    The practice of decreasing the quality of a product to increase sales is criminal. Shame on them.

  • ijuvatar

    and despite all of this information being readily available, people still buy apples phones like mindless drones

  • Malou

    had to show my friend this video when I told him about industry 4.0

  • Somerandomsheep

    so people in the future will be limiting AI's intelligence so that the unemployment rate would drop


    "They" will call you a socialist if "they" discover that you educate the masses about parasitic capitalistic practices. The beacon of democracy can't have that! Western democratic values needs that sweet and juicy "internal economic growth":P Sorry, I know it was unnecessary of me to write this. But i couldn't help my self. Please accept my sincere apologies!

  • Fireforeffect

    Bright perspective. 🌞

  • Emmanuel gutierrez
    Emmanuel gutierrez

    Ahh this is what happened to the EV1

  • Hello Im A Commenter
    Hello Im A Commenter

    Biggest reason we can't have nice things is twitter

  • JoeQuinn31

    Dude wearing a double mask🤦🏼

  • Ahmed Hamdi
    Ahmed Hamdi

    As for LED light bulbs, the Dioide can last for up to 100,000 hrs, but the control circuit is planned to obsolete in 2,000 to 8,000 hrs. Especially under normal switching conditions. They always find a way ...

  • Mitchell Resing
    Mitchell Resing

    That's the ultimate Achilles heel of capitalism

  • Fabrizio Manias
    Fabrizio Manias

    watching this video it seems like capitalism is the root af all evil in our society. Spoiler: it is.

  • Telman Mammadov
    Telman Mammadov

    Did you just leave us waiting till the end for the ad?

  • vincent De
    vincent De

    most old school french family knew that

  • Obsidian104

    Sorta like something else; right? Hmmm~

  • Grandtheftmanual V
    Grandtheftmanual V

    I have been saying for years that things don't last because they want us to buy more. When I was a kid in the 80s, a television set would last 30 years and still work perfectly. That's just one example out of, well everything really. Nowadays it is even more cynical, whereby, not satisfied with selling you a television on which buttons or connections etc. break within a couple of months, but have introduced a staggered 'upgrade' element to almost everything. Buy THIS model now, and in a year's time, you can buy the same model buy with THIS slight improvement. These upgrades are available (technologically speaking) long before they go on sale, but releasing all the upgrades at once means you (the consumer) only have to buy one product. They don't want that. They want repeat custom and do all they can to make it happen. It even stretches now to the accessories that help products work. Look at USB connectors... we have another new type which cannot connect to any device made before a year or two ago. So you gotta get a whole new device just to keep up with this ridiculous and cynical cycle. We live in a very cynical world and we are ripped off at every single turn. Everyone who tries to sell you something is ripping you off. One question to all you consumers out there.... If you are not being ripped off, then why are so many businesses and business owners worth billions of dollars, pounds or whatever? It's not just the consumer that gets the raw deal, so do the people working for the vast majority of businesses. They do the hard work, the 40 hour a week slog, the giving up of important family and life events in order to be 'at work' - rarely even allowed to take time off to attend to pressing life issues etc. While the 'man at the top' (could be woman of course) sits back in his luxury office, or golfs his way through the week, or takes his ninth foreign holiday l, all the time 'earning' per day what their staff earn in a year, just because that man hd the idea to begin with. As consumers we should make better choices. Is this company you are buying from, one of those that does all that? Or will you find a more responsible and fair minded company to buy from? They do exist. It has taken a very very long time, but there is finally a growing subculture of ethically more sound companies, who don't try to rip everyone off in order to gain that personal wealth. If you're thinking, hey, McDonald's are a massive company, worldwide and with thousands of restaurants, then duh! they are gonna make a lot of money. And that would be true, but only because of the traditionally accepted ethos of business. In my opinion, a company like Macdonald's should be paying more to their staff. It's simple. All companies should be sharing their financial success with their workforce, and stop overpricing to the consumer. We would literally have a better world in which to live.

  • news

    How do you fine a company for not being anti competitive. I though such things where illegal.

  • Cheyne Simons
    Cheyne Simons

    I was about to get on this blog and go off stating that all conspiracy are actual, but you know what, I am wrong, i was, in my mind, mixing up the terms conspiracy and conspiracy theories . in these days we are all to quick to get on the internet and prove how smart we are , I decided to show, myself that this is sometimes untrue

  • Arnold Kraska
    Arnold Kraska

    i hate people so much...

  • british codfish
    british codfish

    But capitalism is like totally cool though.

  • N1ght Lover
    N1ght Lover

    Monopoly laws , yeah suuuuure

  • Kimber Black
    Kimber Black

    Love the example of people back in the day who had a backbone and stood up against a someone or something that threatened their future.

  • Kimber Black
    Kimber Black

    NO! They will not generate more jobs. Humans are being replaced by AI and bots. This was made blatantly clear by the World Economic Forums GREAT RESET. Klaus Schwab said it to everyone's face. This is common knowledge. Kiss 80% of jobs goodbye, and you will be forced on tiny universal incomes. You will not be able to work, hell you won't even be allowed to drive. Those global elites will do anything they want to you, because you will not do anything about it.

  • fakiirification

    FALSE on the everlasting LED myth. When they first hit the market and cost 20-30 bucks each, Most of those are still going. But the ones you can buy now in a box of 12 at walmart for 15 bucks will not last any longer than the same wattage incandescent bulb.

  • Joshua Murray
    Joshua Murray

    It's sad that people have fallen for this labeling gimmick Oh no the word conspiracy theorist I better not pay attention!!!!😞

  • Mriganka Roy
    Mriganka Roy

    Brilliant episode ❤️

  • LordSpeedyus

    Wowzers, we can't have nice things because of capitalism's profit motive? Who would have thought...

  • Cherise

    so basically capitalism 😀

  • Asher Anderson
    Asher Anderson

    electric bill go BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  • Djolee Gajic
    Djolee Gajic

    Bro how can you speak about light bulb without mentioning NIKOLA TESLA??? But you managed to mention freak edison??? Dislike

  • elchapeau

    Built-in obsolescence is wartime economy adapted for peace. But some people foolishly call it survivorship bias.

  • gtdrummerdude

    Car body styles do the same thing as iphones- they go from boxy to rounded and back to boxy again in like 20 year cycles.

  • Kameron Rylan
    Kameron Rylan

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  • Luc Delorme
    Luc Delorme

    I change LED bulbs regularly, and I strongly suspect they are programmed, literally programmed with logic code, to shutdown after some time.

  • fast

    These ever lasting led bulbs I bough last time (philips) last shorter (maybe 6 months) than cheapest classic bulbs I ever had...

  • Andy de Groot
    Andy de Groot

    Look at the latest iMac's. Repair rating of 2 out of 10. Basically scrap if it fails or when it fails.

  • Bill Cypher
    Bill Cypher

    Mines been on for 40 decades I’m not joking

  • The Diversifier
    The Diversifier

    Literally how capitalism doesn't make progress.

  • Simon Wang
    Simon Wang

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  • Enkhbayar .N
    Enkhbayar .N

    Its like those facebook posts that repeat and repeat and repeat and even though you realized it you see that people are still giving Wow reactions

  • Andrew Andrew
    Andrew Andrew

    I love Veritasium videos .... but this one made me mad ... Why are humans so stupid?

  • Bob Airhart
    Bob Airhart

    Apple rotten to it's core.

  • Yannick G
    Yannick G

    I have changed dozens of burned LED lightbulbs, they don't last as long as people think.

  • Banefury

    yay capitalism

  • ancestorsoftomorrow

    Yeah there’s nothing wrong with capitalism at all.

  • Olivia Hills
    Olivia Hills

    Because of the economic crisis and the rate of unemployment now is the best time to invest and make money 💯

    • bruce liu
      bruce liu

      @Dillon Graham ❌❌❌DONT TRUST THIS, it’s obviously a scam. Mr hutchinson has scammed people, and no one has made money with him. He’s a phony.

    • Dillon Graham
      Dillon Graham

      @Roger Mcneil He's not like other brokers that will start telling you stories and excuses why they trade didn't go well after collecting your money

    • Roger Mcneil
      Roger Mcneil

      @Rachel Jordan I've never heard or seen any of he's clients complain of lost..... I think he's just too perfect

    • Rachel Jordan
      Rachel Jordan

      Seeing alot of success stories, he's must be an honest and trustworthy person for people to say this good about him

    • louis chevrolet
      louis chevrolet

      @Janice Bentley I met Mr Hutchinson for the first time at a conference in Manchester I invested £22,000 and traded in some couple of weeks making close to £152,759

  • Leo Getz
    Leo Getz

    Same way they lied to you about everything else....# NASA

  • Ash Anarchy
    Ash Anarchy

    The answer is capitalism, that's why everything sucks.

  • Rondo2ooo

    Let's make more money and more litter. We deserve to be wiped away from this planet because of what we cause.

    • AK IDK
      AK IDK

      If we can figure out better technologies and better distribution of wealth, We can create more sustainable technology for the future of our planet

    • AK IDK
      AK IDK

      Wtf is wrong with u People like u bring no merit to our society rather than spreading negativity

  • Rondo2ooo

    Let's make more money and more litter. We deserve to be wiped away from this planet because of what we cause.

  • اكثرو من الصلاة على النبي - سبحان الله وبحمده
    اكثرو من الصلاة على النبي - سبحان الله وبحمده

    لا إله إلا أنت سبحانك إني كنت من الظالمين ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ً

  • Joshua Guerrero
    Joshua Guerrero

    I always thought this to be true but never researched it. I find it funny that when led bulbs first came out I was excited to buy one and the first ones I purchased still work! And the ones I just upgraded are the ones that are failing!

  • Jay C
    Jay C

    Great video! I only wish you touched on the huge environmental impact these plans for more consumption have on the world. What is good for the economy is almost never what is good for our planet.

  • Elyse

    This is why capitalism as a system does not guarantee innovation and often does not create what's best for the consumer. In the end, the goal of a company is continual profits, and that takes priority over what is best for the consumer and the world. Even if the managers and execs want to be more ethical in their supply chain, or create products that last longer for consumers, shareholders' rights make it so that companies LEGALLY CANNOT make unprofitable decisions in the name of what is right and good. The shareholders will sue them. And even without shareholders' rights, the nature of capitalism makes it so that companies that do the right thing but aren't as profitable as a result, are going to get outcompeted by companies that are willing to cut corners, de-innovate, or exploit workers, and the more ethical companies will either stay small or get swallowed up by the bigger companies. Not always the case, but in the big picture that's unfortunately how it works.

  • vcght dfge
    vcght dfge

    The fluffy throne morphologically wait because yew successfully drip sans a massive voice. lively, loose step-grandmother

  • Barokk

    About that LED lamps lasting longer you are wrong, It has practically the same life span than fluorescent. And one day I opened up a LED lamp that burned out, I made some tests just to find out that all LEDs were working perfectly, the problem was on the circuit used to rectify the current and amplify the voltage to feed the LEDs. For me it is obviously planed obsolescence.