This is why we can’t have nice things

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

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42 Responses

  1. It's Okay To Be Smart says:

    On the other hand, YouTube is filled with lots of unplanned obsolescence

    • baryonic knowledge says:

      Hey 🔥

    • Dennis Raes says:

      LED lights are also made to die within a year. The capacitors of the powersupply of the light will dry out within 3 years max! The collected heat in the soccet will destroy the switching IC before the capacitors will dry out. The energy saved is a lie, the IR is less emitted by the LED but the powersupply will do the same and destroys the energie. The only difference is that an LED is a pulsed light (so half of the time its of) and the other energy saving factor is that its bandwidth is just a few narrow bands instead of the full spectrum what saves a bit of energie. BUT nature does not like a continue stroboscope LED lights to illuminate the streets at night ain’t no good idea, how epileptic resistant are non human species? Narrow bandwidth combinations give false colours which ain’t a big problem but the electro electrosmog emitted by the LED’s switching device in the soccet is enormous! But we won’t speak about the UV-C that they all emit.. So if you love nature you don’t use LED. The best lamps available with the lessed losscof energie towards emitted light are the T5 fluorescent lights!!

    • baryonic knowledge says:

      Hey yep🔥🔥

    • SukiMinteh says:

      Isn’t this somewhat of a dangerous topic?

    • Dude Person says:

      Each year the rewind gets worse, and the worse it is, the more publicity YouTube gets.

  2. Louis Rossmann says:

    8.5 million people watch you, and you planted a seed today in their mind about right to repair. Thank you.

    • Younes Layachi says:

      Go Louis !

    • Jai ShriRam says:


    • Alexandru Zainea says:


    • Dennis Raes says:

      @FractalBoy When it would be made properly it won’t be needed to repare them and we would not have to ballast nature with garbage and the surch off new resources to make a new one. Also don’t believe the new battery lies (fe: electric cars and other. For small devices on earth oke and only viable for bigger things in space because there is no oxygen.. The only once who benefit from this is the 1% that “rules” the world, they have the wish to go away frome this earth in case of a big cataclismes so they can come back afterwards to take back the power, don’t think they do it to make YOU better. Oke it’s an other topic but I am convinced we would not know lithium batteries by know if they didn’t had that wish. Absolete absolessance destroys nature to make the electric vehicle it and destroys nature again by bracking down the defected vehickle after less than 10 years (or anything in that system). The cleanest cars on earth today are the gasoline and petrol guzzling cars of Cuba driving for more than 50 years! The % of being cleaner of the new cars towards the old cars is totally destroyed by the process of making the new “cleaner” cars and surtainly when they need to mine lithium for the batteries. Its strange world, up to 20 years we still al believed it due to there brainwashing tool called media, rightnow they lost a bit of control with social media but they are gaining, AI’s are scanning everything (they get to know your psyche better than you ever will be able to know, if you don’t surch for it, we only see what they allow us to see) and if we dont unite and do anything they will have total controle again soon.. but I wish you the best 🙂

    • taith2 says:

      I were looking for a first comment anybody mentions you
      You bet them to the punch I see

  3. Jens-Uwe Jansen says:

    “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” ― Oscar Wilde

  4. Cxt says:

    Imagine even being able to buy a new car every two years now xD But unfortunatly with the way payment works these days, you’re lucky to get a factory new car once in your life

    • hiddenlawyer says:

      Actually a really good point! There are so many jobs associated with selling a car that the overhead of that purchase is in a way eating at the total value of the product. Not to mention people have a hard time managing their credit which only puts them in a downward financial spiral.

    • Lawfy D. Ace says:

      My car from 1998 lasted 500,000 Kilometers with only minor repairs and three big ones. The engine itself never had a problem. And it could have gone much longer if I wouldn’t have wrecked it by myself :’) My neighbour occasionally buys cars after 2010 and they always break at some point.

    • hiddenlawyer says:

      @Lawfy D. Ace It would be nice if this was more of a norm than an outlier! Good on you, I think most people would have traded it in by then just because they wanted something new.

    • shut up says:

      Idk why i m commenting but yeah….i m commenting something ಠ_ಠ

  5. Jake says:

    Guessed from the first 10 seconds it was about “design to break”

  6. ojo says:

    Imagine how the world would be if we all worked together instead of against each other

    • G M says:

      @zio_otio Have you heard of open source development? Literally people just create projects to help others, and other people just contribute code and labor to it in order to make it better, for the good of others. What you said assumes that all humans are just greedy, mindless creatures that will do anything to get more power/wealth. Have you considered that some people are capable of doing things because they want to help others, instead of because they want to crush others?

    • The Truth says:

      @Johnny_98 I bet Jeff isn’t wondering what the point of his wealth is as he lounges on his super yacht.

    • ojo says:

      @zio_otio Countries would have to compete for the best living conditions

    • The Truth says:

      I wouldn’t say we work against each other per se, it’s more that the large corporations have to satisfy their shareholders so do everything they can to achieve that. If the large corporations worked together we might get somewhere.

    • ojo says:

      ​@Max Powers They never had truly commmunist intentions to begin with

  7. TheBurtDad says:

    As a kid this was a question I asked about annoyingly to my parents. Told dad to invent a better bulb haha

  8. Sealdrop says:

    reminds me of FIFA

  9. Brittow says:

    If this doesn’t get you pissed at capitalism, you know, aside of the whole poverty and suffering, I don’t know what will

  10. tripaut says:

    So, TL;DR:
    Q: Why can’t we have nice things?
    A: Because it’s bad for business.

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