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

  • Zero To One
    Zero To One

    Okay this video's title telling me Taylor Swift song 😅

  • Don Fanto
    Don Fanto

    1- Naivety is a belief that there are people out there who are not your close friends or relatives who care about you. 2- Conspiracy is an integral part of human interaction and every single one of us have committed it on numerous occasions in our lives. Only the scale is different.

  • GarageChemist

    great anticapitalist rhetoric. i love it.

  • Cheese Nazi
    Cheese Nazi

    oh it cant be real, but watch its real. INSTEAD look at these cars.

  • Cyber Nomad
    Cyber Nomad

    5:38 can also be applied to resolutions and display manufacturers 😷

  • Kinjiru731

    Very cool topic to cover, thanks.

  • Debpriyo Dutta
    Debpriyo Dutta

    Apple is the perfect example of planned obsolescence.

  • w wyborn
    w wyborn


  • David Hall
    David Hall

    Why do people accept that companies are capable of these mass conspiracies, but not politicians? They can make investments too, like in Big Pharma for example...

  • David Hall
    David Hall

    Oh how badly I want movies to go back to switching between scientists bickering in a lab and a monster destroying the city/world.

  • B

    lol capitalism

  • Nutflix Nordics
    Nutflix Nordics

    Capitalism sure is great

  • Brian Keith Something
    Brian Keith Something

    I thought his view of profit-making was his real motivation in making this video?

  • Benj M
    Benj M

    Well for the LED light, they don't last as long as advertised, yeah the LED itself can last but not the circuitry. I had many of these LED Light ceasing working well before the advertised 10000h. Maybe just after a year.

  • otton pino
    otton pino

    Excellent video

  • Abbas Ibrahim
    Abbas Ibrahim

    Nothing everlasts because if it would it would be plastics and we know that they also do not last

  • Daniel Le
    Daniel Le

    The funny thing is that this also applicable to medicine products, the manufacturers don't need you to get cured completely, they need you to stay sick to a certain level even if they already found a way to cure. Like diabetes for example, let's say they found a way to cure it completely will they announce it or even sell it ? Or they will keep the patients live on insulin and use their supportive medicines for years with thousands of dollars spent?

  • Cyber Woodoo
    Cyber Woodoo

    just wanted to let this out there: LED lights can be repaired easily.

    • David Hall
      David Hall

      They produce tons of heat though, at least their components do. The benefits of LED lights is their luminosity and size. I assembled Hollywood stage lights for a few years and the test racks were a furnace...granted each unit had hundreds to over a thousand LED nodes with dozens of units running at once.

  • Dam Son
    Dam Son

    uh, the phone edges is a bad example, it's provable that a rounded edge makes it easier to lose your grip and drop a device, a sharp edge and flat side is easier to grip.

  • Luis Gonzalez
    Luis Gonzalez

    keep up the good work, both you and Louis

  • Delta Mage
    Delta Mage

    so what i'm hearing is with communism planned obsolescence wouldn't be a thing

  • 弱水三千

    I don't buy trending things including apple, iphone, ipad etc, also I don't buy clothing from trending brands and people always say that I'm classy. My house has this 1" wide, 100 year old oak flooring, it's pretty beat up but looks so stylish always. May the new owner preserve that flooring, it bears history and time.

  • Major Angle
    Major Angle

    The eventuality is inevitable.

  • Toss a coin to your Witcher
    Toss a coin to your Witcher

    You wore not sorta wrong you are completely wrong. An oven or a stove part will break so you will need to buy a new part, most things are made so only parts break, the same way phones are slowed down on purpose and cars need overpriced maintenance. This is so good for the economy in fact making things un-breakable in 1,2 or more human life spans catastrophical to companies and entire economys. No one would ever buy any thing, companies would close factories for years millions would gain and lose their jobs every century. Companies wont be able to promote for so long without a cash flow so they would rely on word of mouth, competing only with their warranties spaning centuries.

  • print hello world
    print hello world

    Why didn’t the antitrust laws stop this?

  • Marcelo Ojeda
    Marcelo Ojeda

    veritasium is so based

  • Brian Holloway
    Brian Holloway

    This video is why we have such a stuffed planet. It's called greed. Many things were made before the 1930s that would've lasted right the way through to the 21st-century. I can remember when they made a few that only cost cents to produce. I remember the family that run the car on it and disappeared that's the whole family never seen again. The house stood for decades an used. I suppose when you see these billionaires giving a lot of their money to the pool maybe their conscience is pricked. How many million iPhones are thrown away because of dishonesty. And iPhone with the technology they have should last for at least 10 to 15 years. Most people have no idea how to use all the technology in the average phone. You can stop a car rusting for only $20. Alright say $100 alright let's go staggeringly and say $200. And that is a vehicle would not rust for its lifetime. How much environment would that save. We already have the technologies we already have the engineers we already have the scientists that have made things last for a complete life time. All we have to do is take away greed and there you have it. We're talking about planet Earth and sustainable living we've had it for decades probably 100 years but it has been taken office by greed corruption and distortion. So who profits. Ha ha that's another story. But what's going to happen when the Sunday law comes in it's basically legislated now in all countries. The Christian coalition in America are forcing the American government to have a Sunday law at their peril. 500 Pentecostal ministers with Kenneth Copeland apologise to the Pope for the reformation. The 1940 catechism states and I quote how dare the Protestant worship on our day that we change without any scriptural evidence. Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath and the Pope is Lord of Sunday which Lord will celebrate the most when the Sunday law comes in has rocket science really die

  • ShrubRustle

    not having enough jobs really shouldn't be a problem. like, it should be "yay, we're operating at 100% efficiency! now there's more time for everybody" but we've decided that a person only deserves to live if they have a job. The solution to this is not to make things worse and artificially create new, pointless jobs.

  • Jim Brankle
    Jim Brankle

    Capitalism... When profit is primary, all else is secondary. Profit, profit , profit, that's all they care about. C Bose

  • Corbin Fobbs
    Corbin Fobbs

    This conspiracy sold out to the man don't pay it attention

  • Nickayz

    I love the last sentence - full of opimism: "We finally reached tht point what is essentially an everlasting light bulb."

  • محمد Obis
    محمد Obis

    If they worshipped Allah, they wouldn't have cheated people

  • butchers of london
    butchers of london

    That camera in the fire station should live stream that bulb please

  • Zach Shea
    Zach Shea

    Try blue, it's the new red!

  • Theo Wild
    Theo Wild

    Thanks for pointing out that our lives are made worse by the profit motive! Planned obsolescence is one of the ways in which capitalism is choking the environment and it makes me angry

  • Dominick Destine
    Dominick Destine

    Hardcore leftist propaganda if ever I've seen it. How about all of the whining leftists actually start a business with the supposedly superior lightbulb? no of course not because then they'd get BTFO'd by reality. Pfeh, all leftists are irredeemably evil and woefully stupid.

  • Dainel Solov
    Dainel Solov

    But if the products would be bad then the country have to print more money and more money = more inflation witch can make money absolutely worthless

  • Amy E
    Amy E

    Fun little video that shows how humanity ended itself, alongside WALL-E.

  • Lickorish Allsorts
    Lickorish Allsorts


  • Spencer Gibson
    Spencer Gibson

    So apart from the instance in burning Apple (who have increased performance year over year in their tablets and phones) and then using a MacBook? Oh and the fact that Apple HAVE now just revolutionised their product with their own chips in their computers that use much less power while maintaining the same level of performance (or surpassing it), the BBC (who run QI and commission it) is funded by the British tax payer. Circumventing that is like ripping off the US cable networks.

  • Marcelo Caraveo
    Marcelo Caraveo

    Why can’t we have nice things?? Capitalism

  • Hayden Lehman
    Hayden Lehman

    CAPITALISM SUCKS this is all capitalism's fault ffs

  • Russel Brooks
    Russel Brooks

    I have several incandescent light bulbs that have been running for about 30+ years. The secret? First the bulbs are clear glass 4 watt night light bulbs. Second is special fixture that runs 2 bulbs in series. Third is a diode in series with the bulbs. This reduces the power to point that the filament glows, but not brightly; similar to that firehouse bulb. It makes a nice bathroom night light that I leave on 7x24.

  • EuphoricPenguin

    Right to repair is a retarded concept. I can't fathom how *more* legislation would ever solve our problems. The only true way is competition, and the only way that's going to happen is if we make it really easy to enter the market. You're simply begging for crony capitalism when you support right to repair.

  • Jay Jay
    Jay Jay

    This is happening today in other electronic industries. What they're doing is greed, and ripping off the consumer. While all being legal.

  • Derva Kommt von hinten
    Derva Kommt von hinten

    an everlasting lightbulb would be a FANTASTIC business model. just sell them for 10 times the price, people would still buy them. every human needs a couple so you would make BILLIONS and the competition wouldnt sell anything. after everybody got light bulbs you would minimize production for replacements and reinvest the money somewhere else

  • Jacques-Etienne Grandjean
    Jacques-Etienne Grandjean

    But when it comes to Big Pharma, Veritasum and Bill Gates are telling us ARNm vaccines are meant to do us good... and we should not believe in conspiracies... of course...

  • Jesse Smith
    Jesse Smith

    He says those words about LED bulbs as ive replaced literal DOZENS of them in my own home due to crappy solder joints im pretty sure, just easier to swap than fix.

  • Shan Sandaruwan
    Shan Sandaruwan

    at 15:21 how the hell did he unscrew the light bulb and hold in to it without melting his hand

  • RedKing

    Where the hell is this guy getting his LED bulbs? they last a long time but not that long...

  • Ronald Catullus
    Ronald Catullus

    That fabric scientist sounds like a young Khajiit

  • Vijay Ninel
    Vijay Ninel

    I usually dont come up with conspiracy theories but my Logitech gaming mice used to fail regularly - until I changed the cable of a failed mouse with the cable of an ordinary mouse. Now its working fine from years and years.


    D-did they forget that light bulbs can sHATTER?

  • qwertyqwerty1955

    you are full of it.

  • erick

    This is why we cant have nice things darling, because you break them, i had to take them away

  • Benjamin Boyle
    Benjamin Boyle

    GM used to do this as well. By company policy parts were designed to fail shortly after the warranty. I know someone who worked for GM who saw the memo's. I have no idea if they still do this or not.

  • Matt Combatti
    Matt Combatti

    Just to clear the air - There are everlasting light bulbs...if powered correctly. Even a "dead" fluorescent tube will continue to light indefinitely if subjected to a radio signal or a high frequency electric signal. The tools and resources are already available and have been for over 100 years.

  • Joshua Reynvaan
    Joshua Reynvaan

    Unsubscribed when I saw your double mask

  • Дмитрий Хабаров
    Дмитрий Хабаров

    thank you asus for making my computer last for 8 years without any sign of degrading (except for the battery which i replaced once)...

  • Jonathan Rocha
    Jonathan Rocha

    Companies sabotaging products for profit :D We gotta love capitalism.

  • Its Just an Apple
    Its Just an Apple

    Astrazeneca could be banned obsolence maybe

  • Eduard Fornés i Català
    Eduard Fornés i Català

    Oh, except we haven't. Planned obsolescence is pretty much as present in LEDs as it was in incandescent bulbs, sadly.

  • Priyam Paithankar
    Priyam Paithankar

    Now this is content ✌🏼

  • Bunzen Kantzen
    Bunzen Kantzen

    So are VPN companies and Streaming services also conspiring?

  • quantumcake

    actchually... they make the LED lamps with the same principle. the ones I buy usually last couple of months, which appears as a shorter span compared to conventional lamps. Excellent video. I'd have also liked to hear about the enviromental impact this selling strategy has, since many people can't connect the dots.

  • tilemacro

    I dream of a world where Greed is seen as a form of mental illness.

  • Slainer

    Thank you for ending on a possitive note

  • Rebelijah

    I disagree with the led being everlasting... I am constantly replacing my current "amazing" LED bulbs... I think there should be an early investigation to see if they are doing the same to LED bulbs

  • ayvengo e
    ayvengo e

    why did the same not happen to led??

  • Sidharth Vijayan
    Sidharth Vijayan

    Right to repair = Louis Rossman

  • Esconis

    Apple are releasing new phones every year, and are ending support for old ones. Just like Microsoft is doing. Even though the iphone 6 or Windows 7 was perfectly good.

  • Smiley !
    Smiley !

    This video was shockingly interesting🤯 I was hooked the whole way

  • Thijs B
    Thijs B

    What episode of qi is he on?

  • Bart Huijgens
    Bart Huijgens

    I never had a light bulb lasting more then +_5 year.... back to square 1...

  • equipt4sound

    I couldn't help but noticing the video security camera monitoring the light bulb. How long has it been on and what happens when it gets turned off? I think there maybe a conspiracy here just to get people to be exposed to an advertising platform.

  • Ao sika
    Ao sika

    What about the massive withdraw of planned obsolescence: pollution.

  • Patrick K
    Patrick K

    The EU's green narrative is only to create a new industry and thus jobs. So I wouldn't call them a saint...

  • Omenvreer

    Thats why I don’t update my freakin phone. I knew all those updates were doing is trying to make me buy another one. Damn corporations

  • Child Star
    Child Star

    here in the Philippines someone invented an engine running on water but no one really wants to sponsor it. cause you know what country hated the idea the most

    • Ross Rossiter
      Ross Rossiter

      Look up Stanley myers on SLtoos, he invented a sparkplug that separated the hydrogen from water so any engine could run off any water, salty sea water, fresh, didn't matter. He wanted the world to use his technology and met with some supposed US government men at a restaurant to discuss moving forward with it, he took a sip from his cranberry juice, grasped his neck, said 'they've poisoned me' & died.

  • AtomicPunk23

    I lived through the 80s when planned obsolescence in the auto industry was at its peak. Our POS Ford escort broke down and ruined our Disneyland vacation, then a year later our POS new Chevy cavalier got us stuck in the desert for hours. I've never bought an American car in my adult life because of those experiences. They need to legislate this better with right-to-repair laws to restore confidence in American products.

  • burtosis

    The LED bulb lasting a long time is misinformation. Many designs require capacitors and to save a few extra cents and make them last shorter they cheap out and the capacitors fail, including explode by venting caustic fumes. Further, they drive the LEDs with too much current for the heat dissipation. I’ve had many many LED bulbs fail within the first 100 hours, all of these problems can be identified by non-technical people with limited engineering experience and as such are purposely made to fail early.

  • bananernasfarfar

    Thanks for the great video! Hopes Rossman can use this in the quest for right to repair!

  • JDH

    This really shouldn't come as a surprise. We literally had a corporation-backed president pushing bad lightbulbs for four years.

  • arash

    thank god we finally reached the everlasting lightbulb. with led lightbulb

  • Jerson Atilo
    Jerson Atilo

    Even android phones are designed like that

  • Morpheus

    i thought this was primary school knowledge they do thing to break so they can still selling the thing

  • Lade

    Almost like the system that worships the profit motive cripples innovation, hmmmm

  • ognjen usumović
    ognjen usumović

    great video! we need all the anti-consumerist propaganda we can get

  • Javier Campos
    Javier Campos

    This is like an Ordinary Things video but without british jokes

  • Simple Mechanics
    Simple Mechanics

    15:44 yes bright bit it is over run mode. It last may be months or year depends by your equipment. Led can run more than 120 year but it must run low current . Another thing is the power supply must locating separately. The led bulbs have the worst design ever. The led driver locating just middle of the bulb, where is the hottest. Electrolytic capacitors can not handle that heat and dies very quickly. Lower current = less heat. Possible you need to replace hundreds of led drivers within 1000 year but led runs perfectly. Just capacitors is so bad.... And these over driven led bulbs often does not have the heatsink too... only plastic and it melts...

  • sfincione2000

    This guy is one of the very few people that know how to incorporate my most hated of things... the ad. As much as I hate to admit it, he makes the ad included actually interesting. Go figure. Well, first of all, he warns you very quickly at the start that it's coming at the end, and then at the end he puts his own clever spin on the product and makes it very relatable. Well played, sir, well played... damn you =)

  • yoger ex
    yoger ex

    Don't know about others but I have already changed led bulbs of entire house more than four times in last 4-5 years.. they fcking don't last longer than a year or two at most.. no matter which company I buy from

  • Mr. Logician
    Mr. Logician

    Smart guys will understand the real message, that is unsaid in this video 😎

  • Masoud Gheysari
    Masoud Gheysari

    The problem still exists in LED lightbulbs. There's a capacitor inside the light which smoothens the current for the LEDs inside the bulb. It's worth around 10 cents if they use the best material, and around 5 cents if they use the worst material. So, 5 cents difference. I can assure you that almost everytime an LED bulb blows, it's because this capacitor is bad material and it failed. The lightbulb is also all glued and you can't open it up without breaking it. But I could open a few, replaced the cap, and they're still working after years of use. So, they intentionally use bad capacitor while the price difference to make the bulb work for like 20 years instead of 1 year is not more than 5 cents.

  • Alyenbird

    My most recent experience with planned obsolescence: Most laptops typically can be unscrewed at the bottom and opened up. It is necessary to do this every few months to blow the dust and hair out of your computer fan with some compressed air- especially if you have pets. If you don't ever clean that dust and hair out, the fan slowly gets clogged up, ceases to work properly, and your computer can become dangerously hot. A lot of people are unaware that this maintenance needs to be done at all- which is a win for the company that sold the computer when it overheats and breaks. However, apparently some computer manufacturers don't even want those who know they need to clean their laptops to clean them. A relative of mine recently noticed that her laptop was overheating and that the fan is clogged. So she turned it over to unscrew it and clean it out. There were no screw holes. She called the professionals, and the professionals told her that model of laptop could not be cleaned. It was *glued* together rather than screwed. From now on anytime my family goes laptop shopping, we will be checking the bottom for screws!

  • rpaull3

    Many companies do this crap...

  • Tony Furtado
    Tony Furtado

    The economic model is true of the vast majority of consumer products Longevity of products has a adverse effect on capitalism in the context of mass marketing. The answer to the equation is to remove the monitary systems dominance over decision making.

  • Louie Sangalang
    Louie Sangalang

    Quality content! Thank you for sharing the truth and for educating us!

  • thecatsred

    capitalism was a mistake

  • TheModer8ter

    Jesus of Nazareth, who was God in the flesh of a man, died for the remission of sin, including yours, was buried, and rose form the dead 3 days later. If you simply believe in this to apply to you and trust Jesus to save you from hell then you have everlasting life in heaven. As Jesus says in John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."