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Planned Obsolescence

Planned obsolescence is the outcome of “a deliberate decision by suppliers that a product should no longer be functional or desirable after a predetermined period” (Cooper 2010, 4). The term obsolescence, originally derived from the Latin soleo (to be used to) and ob- (away), refers to a state or condition of having fallen into disuse. Planned obsolescence is widely viewed negatively on the grounds that, with deliberate intent, it causes consumer dissatisfaction or environmental damage. It is also defended as a stimulant to innovation. A common explanation is that producers increasingly faced with saturated markets and under pressure to generate replacement sales are forced to reduce product life spans. It is manifest throughout the industrialized world.

Origins of Debate

Concern about planned obsolescence began in the United ...

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