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

  • j c
    j c

    It’s 2021 why are people still spreading that Edison fake news

  • egguy

    Greed... and justice

  • Erik T.
    Erik T.

    Something tells me it was General Electric that came up with this idea.

  • John F
    John F

    This is an incredible video with a strong message, and while I don’t want to damper the mood, I can only hope this isn’t the mindset behind cancer research.

  • Chris Craft 2
    Chris Craft 2

    i dont know how you come up with these videos but they are gold... the only one that really makes me mad is that im a car guy and car batteries are the worst with that..

  • Rose Harvey
    Rose Harvey

    "capitalism breeds innovation"

    • Gabriel 777
      Gabriel 777

      And cronie capitalism creates what we have now. Proverbs 22:3

  • ur22much2

    @25.oo for one ticket @ million tickets= money money money


    This is like my Xbox update, now I have black

  • idk

    if people weren't so greedy we would have a lot less trash to pile on landfills

  • Ero-Usagi-Sama

    Lol it's not Doupohntte, it's Dupont.


    So capitalism?

  • Felix Le chat
    Felix Le chat

    You are smarter than me dude

  • John Taylor
    John Taylor

    My maytag washing machine broke three months after the warranty expired. My mother's washing machine lasted over twenty years.

  • stonefacedmedusa

    9:49 and kids that’s how PTFE was born :D

  • mattypow82

    The thing that kills me about this type of perspective. OK, the corpos are willing to do these kinds things when it comes to light bulbs and pantyhose right? Yet people will argue they couldn't possibly behave this way in regards to oh medicine or automobiles or airplanes...... Just saying.

  • Sarthak Khare
    Sarthak Khare

    I'm disappointed this isn't an analysis about Taylor Swift's song but I learnt something very interesting today

  • Helge Johnsen
    Helge Johnsen

    Well some of the biggest conmen in history are behind this so no wonder it is getting copied and still used to day.

  • Yor Es
    Yor Es

    I’ve always wondered why Doctors don’t just give ineffective medicine when the illness will not cause death. Turns out some Doctors do, and I’m not sure when it’ll reach medical/pharmaceutical companies soon. Or maybe it has?

  • Timothy Cohen
    Timothy Cohen

    Apple and lightbulb makers out here straight robbing their customers. Apple basically calling there customers dumb. 💡 companies would be mad at me cause I barely use light at all.

  • Timothy Cohen
    Timothy Cohen

    Ok you make a forever lightbulb and demand goes down. What's better less things to have to throw away this the planet being healthier or money?.... Money obviously

  • Aкула

    Greed sure is amazing! An even better motivator than pride or envy!

  • erinannelies

    This is such an important video. Very eye opening

  • C & C Cards
    C & C Cards

    I wish the statement at the end, that I'd be more likely to sell my house than to replace an LED were true. I've replaced the LED bulbs in my kitchen at least 3 times each (2 different bulbs) in the last 5 years. I have taken voltage and amp readings at the sockets and the wiring and both are within normal limits. Next step is to replace the fixture.

  • tylermech66

    My only issue with LEDs is that... they're TOO bright! this is workable with household lights, as you can find ways to dim them, but with car lights? every time I drive at night now I'm blinded if there's any oncoming traffic. It's ridiculous.

  • 12 34
    12 34

    Right to repair is extremely important. If there is one thing you take away from this video, take that.

  • Aubrey Bryant
    Aubrey Bryant

    Mandatory planned obsolescence is like having mandatory injections of the corona virus. (Yes, I'm back watching this again two months later.)

  • MrUnlimitedTorque

    How to sell a new car in 1955: change the color How to sell a new Iphone in 2021: angles are somewhat different...kind of

  • Ovid Bambusa
    Ovid Bambusa

    The man in the white suit wearing a brown suit

  • Ovid Bambusa
    Ovid Bambusa

    So, maybe we should try communism again

  • Æliott

    those LED bulbs are rigged to burn out way way faster than they are supposed too, they overclock them so they die sooder :)

  • Christopher Howell Bailey
    Christopher Howell Bailey

    17:29 minutes and not one mention of the devastating environmental impact.

  • Nayeon Im
    Nayeon Im

    The shrill taiwan etiologically support because test immunophenotypically flood over a worthless recess. wealthy, neat rectangle

  • Ethan Montgomery
    Ethan Montgomery

    Your mom was a nice thing but then she gave birth to you And ended up at bars passing her self around for free drinks something your use to

  • Green Sky
    Green Sky

    It would be interesting to see someone talking about how consumerism has influenced us to see other people (outside or inside our own families) as being unimportant or even replaceable. But i guess it's too subtle of a subject for the majority of people to actually notice it.

  • Umbertold

    Thank you. Just thank you.

  • Vanessa Kindell
    Vanessa Kindell

    I've owned my house for just under 2 years and I've already had to replace a few LED bulbs I installed when I moved in.

  • Noran Micholas
    Noran Micholas

    I think they're still up to the same practices with led lightbulbs considering mine seem to burn out just as fast as the old fluorescents

  • Teresa Bee Kind
    Teresa Bee Kind

    ‼️Phone Updates introduce Planned Obsolescence‼️

  • Joshua Woods
    Joshua Woods

    Planned obsolescence could work as a way to ensure Job's never run out if it wasn't for competition and basically every big company hiring sweatshop slaves in China instead of making factories in the US to help their country.

  • Alicia Adams
    Alicia Adams

    The innocent road desirably queue because love evidently coach within a bawdy veil. dirty, burly side

  • Jan Weigang
    Jan Weigang

    Ironically those LED lightbulbs (german here, buying osram) are just more expensive and last even shorter than old bulbs.. I am replacing about 2-3 led bulbs a year which are rated anywhere from 10k to 50k hours of lifetime. So that ending of the video felt like a really sarcastic joke.

  • Productive Citizen
    Productive Citizen

    Veritasium just discovered capitalism

  • Kevin Culross
    Kevin Culross

    The disturbed package socioeconomically communicate because boy gully tap since a accurate neck. insidious, alluring jeff

  • Skoda130

    Personally, I don't care about new styles every year.

  • Glodus Muspell
    Glodus Muspell

    Unfortunately, led and fluorescent light bulbs are dangerous to humans

  • Soen

    That point about the rounded corners and how "there is no better, there is only different" is so true. Even if one thing does seem better, there is usually always a compromise somewhere else. See most smartphones nowadays, where new features are being implemented but the headphone jack is removed. Not better or worse. Just the same. Just different.

  • Jorge Chávez
    Jorge Chávez

    How MEDIOCRE is to think that building shitty things is good for everyone. ALWAYS try to be better.

  • Jorge Chávez
    Jorge Chávez

    How were the fines enforced??

    • notPlancha


  • The Dee
    The Dee

    LED light bulbs have in fact reached a stage of planned obsolescence of their own. Manufacturers are in the practice of under-engineering the AC-to-DC converters and reducing the size and quantity of the LEDs, under the pretense of reducing manufacturing costs. This has the _ostensibly_ unintended consequence of overdriving and overheating the bulbs, reducing their lifespan. The ISnetsr BigCliveDotCom has some good videos on the topic. Basically, most of the world has access to LED bulbs which will last a few tens of thousands of hours (okay, that's a few years) while only special markets like the United Arab Emirates have access to immortal bulbs. So, lightbulbs are still very much designed for planned replacement. They've only increased the intervals.

  • vivthefree

    I heard a line a while ago about how we call it materialism, but we don't actually value the material, i.e., it's durability, how well it functions, the many unintended functions it can serve. It's an immense pleasure to break away from this mindset: you appreciate a cheap chair for its comfort, or a house for how well it keeps you cool or warm.

  • RowdyPumper

    Why don't long-lasting LED bulbs cause the same marketing problems? If a bulb last a hundred years and you Dosngrade it to half as good, 50 years is still a long time. So why aren't LED bulbs downgraded to last only 5 years?

  • Nick Collette
    Nick Collette

    This is why i hate this world.

  • Wisperer Flame
    Wisperer Flame

    wonder how long planned obsolence would be if the producers would be forced by law to colect , deconstruct and recicle or safely distroy (when recicle not possible) the product

  • BGMA

    That iphone "planned obsolence" example is still so shitty. What apple did was the exact opposite of planned obsolence. The Update they shipped out made me keep my iphone 6s longer than i planned because i'd rather have a slower phone than one that completely shuts down when the software wants to much power. And i am sure im not the only one who experienced random shutdowns until they fixed it with the update.

    • Soen

      Those "random shutdowns" shouldn't have been happening in the first place. If they really cared about older models still being functional, they would have released a second version of the OS specifically designed for older models, or somehow had the OS detect the older model and function accordingly, rather than a) ignoring that fact completely and b) forcing a hamstringing update on them.

  • Arpit Yadav
    Arpit Yadav

    but LED bulbs are not everlasting?

  • Joroc

    I've changed many LED bulbs in the same house 🤡 also seen video of electrician talking about their circuit are linked in series so if one part burns all the other won't work🤡🤡

  • Joroc

    Smart tvs were launched without wifi antennas even tho phones(much tinier) already existed🤡


    if every single product there currently is would be "indestructible" then there wouldn't be a need for money because you already have everything and you wouldn't have to buy anything ever again


    how do you fine someone with the reason: "your product is too good"

    • Noran Micholas
      Noran Micholas

      cartels telling them "sure would be a shame if something happened to this fragile lightbulb factory..."

  • MyLittleHecarim

    now imagine the other tech they're holding back on us

  • No Ot
    No Ot

    How to make money as an fps company: Make new gun Have it be overpowered as hell Consumers feel obligated to purchase it early as it’s dominating every lobby Nerf it next season

  • Isaac Lux
    Isaac Lux

    The LED may not likely burn out, but the circuits inside get fried after so many hours causing the bulbs to flicker or die. Has happened to several of mine. We really only buy LED and have bought two packs of 6 over the past 3 years.

  • Erik

    The Story of Stuff. Look that up.

  • Nicking989

    I would like to know if a tungsten style bulb was made, which could last as long as possible, over it's lifetime would it end up with a lower carbon footprint than an LED bulb (with manufacturing and power usage taken into account)? I know an LED bulbs initial carbon footprint must be quite high due to the driver circuit and many more materials required to manufacture. Would have to also take into account the failure rate of each style, I have had numerous LED bulbs fail early (most replaced under warranty, this would double the footprint of that particular bulb) and not very many regular bulbs (from what I can remember).

  • OriginalNeoSupreme

    Always follow the money. People can really suck. They ostracized Nikola Tesla and people like him, so they can make a buck.

  • Conor Kiernan
    Conor Kiernan

    The Model T was introduced Oct. 1, 1908, and through the 1913 model buyers had a choice of several , including

  • Paul Leavell
    Paul Leavell

    An economy built on consumerism will not last‼

  • 名無しのキャス子

    So destroy our home to feed the insatiable parasitic carrion crutch that barely supports the "health" of the ever growing economy that can't stand on its own legs because it's just growing obeast instead of normally. I guess it's a race between space colonization and our extinction from drowning in heat, plastic, apple products, packaging for products that tries to sell you the product you just brought as you unbox it, raycons and massive, towering cardboard boxes filled with packaging material and the actual product at the very bottom taking up only a miniscule fraction of the space inside the box.

  • стая муравьёв
    стая муравьёв

    Am I right? Correct me if I'm not please, I'm not English ;) The end of the video, when he said about everlasting lightbulb. Does he mean that these bulbs are not important anymore, that's why they are so good now? Thanks beforehand!!

  • GeneralLee131

    Luckily the free market is self correcting. GM lost their gamble on throwaway cars being the future. The average car on the road today is 12 years old. And with prices skyrocketing, it will soon be much more. Consumers actively seek out cars that will last that long or longer, and not one of those cars are American. So much for those profits, huh GM.

  • robotron17

    It's the GOVERNMENT that keeps out competition via regulation.

  • Maynard Hahn
    Maynard Hahn

    That makes a lot of sense to me that things have a life limit I’ve been taught that grown-up if you make something to good they will never need to get a new one would you get your first round the sales you’re done

  • Tahmid

    What about Toyota, whose cars last forever?

  • Nacho Joshas
    Nacho Joshas

    An economy and world based on constant consume is impossible to mantain for a long time, and that time has come. We need to change our paradigm right now.

  • Brandon B
    Brandon B

    now imagine what they are doing with things like cancer, cars, tech, food, and on n on. THIS is why government is bad yes even ours in its current corrupt state...

  • another friend
    another friend

    The world is a lie... where is the nearest McDonald's.... doordash get my food

  • Kartik K
    Kartik K


    • Noran Micholas
      Noran Micholas

      lol so ignorant

  • francis lea
    francis lea

    Like putting sensors in new (ish) cars. More to go wrong and only fix is at high prices at supplying dealers.

  • Gary Neilson
    Gary Neilson

    This is what greed, acceptance of it by the majority and stupidity does.

  • Procash Floyd
    Procash Floyd

    With LED it is much easier just add a timer in a controller chip which randomly shorts out your LED. No one has to find out, easy peasy.

  • MdSteel7

    I love this channel so much!

  • Anthony PC
    Anthony PC

    Oh capitalism... SMH

  • Anindya Dasgupta
    Anindya Dasgupta

    microsoft windows is also an example of planned obsolescence selling 3rd grade software to the world for many decades.

  • Lloyd Jamieson
    Lloyd Jamieson

    You would say with the TV manufacturers using LED for 50" screens so efficiently would be the reason for the change.

  • M G
    M G

    I hate to tell you Veritasium -- but you are delving into a field you cant make a video on. The reason people feel the need to replace new items every year isnt simple basic vanity. In fact, it is human nature to get attached to things that help you. No instead, today, from babies, people are CONDITIONED to NEED to replace things. Through things like little maternity / paternity leave, lost of strapping in babies into needless contraptions, and the notions that babies just cry and need to "learn" not to do so rather than the fact that every healthy baby cries for a reason.

  • matt mammone
    matt mammone

    I moved into a house built in 1918 and there has been a lightbulb working since 2014. The bulb is at least 50 years old.

  • entubadao

    Planned Obsolescence = Variant form of Communism.

  • thepottmi

    Home Depot has bulbs with varying life spans listed. The higher life span bulbs put out less light per watt.

  • Noah White
    Noah White

    Wow... What a scam. It's hard to believe how monopolies can manipulate markets for evil.

  • Kumar Saurabh
    Kumar Saurabh

    A like or comment won't do justice to the bitter truth revealed in the video.

  • Mike Cameron
    Mike Cameron

    Great content! Sometimes the almighty algorithm spits out something good!

  • EngiNERD Brian
    EngiNERD Brian

    Planned obsolescence! It's everywhere!

  • 𝕲𝖆𝖇𝖗𝖎𝖊𝖑

    People buying light bulbs between 1927 and 1934: Why are my lightbulbs lasting less every time?

  • Ricardo Bautista Camargo
    Ricardo Bautista Camargo

    The new led technology promise but don't deliver, lots of bought and discarded lamps with only a few months of use are the proof. They patent the system of making profit over user needs! Sadly!

  • J B
    J B

    And people have only gotten better at conspiring. Conspiracies are inclusive

  • Ben Waffle
    Ben Waffle

    haha i love when capitalism drives innovation and improves products in the interest of consumers

  • Nola West
    Nola West


  • Nola West
    Nola West

    I asked my Dad years ago why you can't find a home appliance that lasts & doesn't break-down after 5 yr of use like they used to do when I was a little girl [back in the 60's when everything lasted longer than a work horse]? He quickly shared the "Obsolescence" rule which made my head spin so fast with anger & frustration!!! Boy! I Think That Was The Day My Eyes Were Opened For Good - Nothing Has Ever Closed Then Since That Fateful Day😨😖😨😖😨😖😨😖

  • Nola West
    Nola West

    Just give me an appliance that acts like an "Everlasting Gobstopper," & I'll be as Happy & as Rich as Ms. Busy Bee 🐝💎🐝💎🐝💎🐝💎

  • California Sun
    California Sun

    Veritasium, an element of truth? You should look into the medical profession and show an element of truth there. 15 proven (90%+ cure rata) cancer cures have been banned by AMA as far back as the 1950s (all 15 are used in other countries to cure cancer). Yet the AMA has no proven cancer cure. They claim improvements are made every year. But I can attest - women today are treated for breast cancer the same way my mother was 47 years ago. And those women still die at the same age that my mother did. It is stated that the US has 600,000 people die of cancer every year, on average. A 90% cure rate cancer cure would reduced that number to 540,000 cured cancer patients. We need a law passed, "The right to be cured", law. I have done the research and found ALL cancers can be cured without chemo, radiation, or surgery. It is time for a change for the good of the people. The AMA needs to begin curing all people of all diseases or get out of the business.