The Lightbulb Conspiracy

The Lightbulb Conspiracy is a documentary about the negative effects of consumerism and planned obsolescence.

The light bulb conspiracy is a theory that the leading manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs have conspired to keep the lifetime of their bulbs far below their real technological capabilities. This way, they ensure the continuous demand for more bulbs and hence, long-term profit for themselves.

Directed by: Cosima Dannoritzer

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  1. Hi Guys, many thanks for mentioning my documentary ‘The Light Bulb Conspiracy’. But please take note that the writer and director of the film is me (and not Steve Michelson). Could you please correct this and take off his name? Many thanks!

    • Oh cool. Loved the documentary. I’ve noticed that the new LED bulbs also have shorter lifespans than the older original LED bulbs from the late 2000s/early 2010s. Maybe that would be an interesting topic to explore for a new documentary? Cheers.

      Dear GOD/GODS and/or anyone else who can HELP ME (e.g. TIME TRAVELERS or MEMBERS OF SUPER-INTELLIGENT ALIEN CIVILIZATIONS): The next time I wake up, please change my physical form to that of FINN MCMILLAN formerly of SOUTH NEW BRIGHTON at 8 YEARS OLD and keep it that way FOREVER. I am so sick of this chubby Asian man body! Thank you! – CHAUL JHIN KIM (a.k.a. A DESPERATE SOUL)

  2. knew stuff was made as faulty long before this. unfortunately its not up anymore. now the conspiracy is to use this idea that the incandescent lightbulbs are inferior to the new mercury laden CFLB’s that put out a terrible light that causes cancer and overall unwellness. it’s obvious, when in reality we could design simple technologies everyone could mostly maintain that would last indefinitely and would provide for people freely what is already freely available from nature in the form of food, water, air, and energy.

  3. Incandescent bulbs all use a tungsten filament. A hotter filament is more efficient but burns up more quickly. It is very simple to make a bulb last forever: use a longer and thinner filament, which does not get as hot, and glows more red than white. A bulb will also last forever if you simply put it on a dimmer and dial it way down. But there is an unintended consequence. A standard 100 watt bulb costs 50 cents, lasts 1500 hours, and uses $18 in electricity over that time (at 12 cents per kWh). The new everlasting bulb will use about 3 times as much electricity over its first 1500 hours, costing an extra $36 to save a half dollar. And another $36 for the next 1500 hours. This is about $200 per year more than the standard bulb which is designed to burn out quickly and save money. The money saved represents a large quantity of coal or natural gas that would be burned to save a few little bulbs.

    • Although everyone is entitled to an opinion, your comment mixed truths and (perhaps deception) I don’t know what! What “new everlasting bulb” are you referring to? Incandescent? LED? Some not yet invented bulb? And use ‘3 times as much electricity over its first 1500 hours” over what bulb? And “costing an extra $36 to save a half dollar” save what half dollar? And another $36 for the next 1500 hours. “This is about $200 per year” Uh? How many hours a day are you running our mystery bulb? There seems to be a lot of mystery math and just plain made up arguments used to try to make a point that you obviously are passionate about, but makes little sense.

  4. Everything produced should, by law, have instruction on how it should be recycled when it eventually wears out, can not be repaired or is not wanted.
    Also, why not give work to those who can do repairs during the life of an item.

    I could not agree more with the documentary

  5. enough silly cut ‘n paste docs with random tack-on walmart library music and silly amateur voiceover already somebody? if we’re going to get upset about normalised stupidity/proffligacy can we just talk about people at home and in chainstores with the the AC up the kahouber, doors and windows gaping airconditioning the whole fgn summer/winter street while they stroll about the place, shirtsleeves in winter, pufferjackets in summer driving their 5 cars per family living on a 75% sugar diet? yay — that’s you, and me.
    now t h a t would be an excuse for a documentary. So why don’t i do the whole crusadin’ shebang myself if i’m so clever? because going on the audience response here to this it clearly ain’t worth it.

    • “that’s you, and me”. Well it certainly is you…but there certainly are many people that do not live as you claim. If you were serious about any of your comment or want to be taken seriously I’d recommend writing in English, not text speak or whatever gibberish you are using. Then perhaps realize that this phenomenon of planned obsolescence cost billions, not a small amount. It creates waste, and pollution that is literally killing people who recover small amounts of material to recycle to sell for food. Your rant has merit in some ways, but truthfully both your mentioned waste of electricity/heating/fuel and planned obsolescence are serious issues that need to be addressed in this country and the world.

  6. Thanx for sharing! As humans are just things for all governments as well, just a cattle that produces but shouldn’t cost, we could expand this topic to the planned obsolescence of workers who shouldn’t reach the age of retirement. This is sadly true regarding the food & pharmaceutical industries… Take care everybody!

  7. A balance can be found (for many items) in designing a solid well built product that can be repaired/upgraded without discarding the entire product. 

    It might not be a good for the economy as full replacement, but it’s a far more responsible approach.

  8. Watched this doco inflight ….. I always new there was a conspiracy going on – also watched Food.Inc – just the same with what we eat/consume .. Brilliant docos

  9. Watched this doco inflight ….. I always new there was a conspiracy going on – also watched Food.Inc – just the same with what we eat/consume .. Brilliant docos

  10. the white man is the most evil species of human to ever walk the earth, his raping of the natural environment to feed his greed for money needs to be stopped; the quicker the white  man is exterminated, the better it will be for the world. I pray that mother nature and her forces will kill the white man and all his heirs, it is the only way

    • he’s referring to fake white ‘jews’ who came down out of the mountains and stole their history from the other groups of people, mostly blacks and some european whites, to impart themselves into history as a ‘chosen’ race and a group of people mistreated that are owed land deemed to them by god they call Israel. Now they control all the wealth, corporations, hollywood, print, news, jewels, construction, govt, medicine, free market, etc. etc. etc. and use their protection racket and diversifying into other protected racketeering subgroups like feminism, nazism, LGBT, black lives matter, etc.

    • really? only the “white man”? sad commentary on your intelligence. mankind in general i would accept but to be so racist is just silly.

    • akshully it’s just the gingerhaired freckly ones and the odd albino african, the last legal bastion of your racism. you should spare the rest of us because we are all good and kind, meek and mild caucasians and would never build our empires on slavery then fk up a whole planet on our way down just because we were too lazy and stupid and thoughtless to change direction. are you Martian by the way?

    •  Is racism the only solution you are able to think of? If you use a computer & the web, don’t you live like the White Man that educated you? What color are you? Does it matter anyway? According to what you express, the dark color of your mind is hatred. This feeling can only bring you to self-destruction & you  are entirely guilty of taking part in the Chaos. My answer to you is that the STUPID man is the most evil & you clearly belong to this SUB-species. There is only a tiny bunch of Natural Tribes left on our technological planet. Do you honestly feel capable to live like they do? I am! I live in Amazonia & know both natural and civilised worlds. I am gifted with survival skills & know the importance of not wasting a drop. I have the knowledge of plants, fishing, hunting, building houses. I am able to walk in the rain forest without a map by day & night. & I am extremely careful regarding what I use from the modern world. I am cleverly responsible for myself & the planet. You’d rather pray Mother Earth to become clever as I pray her positive forces not to give birth anymore to the useless race of colorless sub-humans you belong to. Open your eyes & see how you live! Otherwise you will go on wasting your life & adding one more waste to this wasted world… Honestly, do you think that you deserve to survive the extermination you are wishing? How would you survive without your modern world???

    • I think that only white sick, environment rapist can talk like that. I agree with you. The faster sons of a whores like you will die, the faster the planet earth will be more friendly and peacefull…

    • Your racist rant is just bizarre. To suggest the world would be a better place if ‘white man is exterminated’ is obscene. Were you Hitler in another life? Perhaps you fancy volunteering to run the gas chambers. You are a sick f*cker. There’s one way you could help make it a better world – if you signed up for anger management and got a life.

  11. Amazing and scary – what kind of a world have we accepted where products have ‘end of life’ chips intentionally installed in them to force people to buy a new product? It is shameful, sick and immoral – This documentary is a must see for everyone. 

  12. Bryan, thanks sooooooo much for the link to dotsub!
    I down;loaded the movie – it is nice to see what they were saying

  13. Bryan, thanks sooooooo much for the link to dotsub!
    I down;loaded the movie – it is nice to see what they were saying

  14. Insane conspiracy.. Everything is being held back from the consumer.

  15. Insane conspiracy.. Everything is being held back from the consumer.

  16. Thanks a lot @bryan – in the first 5 minutes there was English, Spanish or Portuguese, French and German, all with Norwegian subtitles – it worked a charm

  17. I agree completely that sustainable products and development is something we should be returning to these days, but there’s one thing that majorly disagrees with it: Computers and computer progress overall.

    Computers are one of the few examples of planned obsolescence being a GOOD thing. The fact that computers are becoming faster and faster (which is clearly better, not superficially better like with changing clothing styles, plastic appliances wearing out so you buy new ones, etc) is extremely beneficial to thousands of applications which rely on the speed and efficiency of computers. The faster our computers become, the more things we are discovering we can do with the heightened computer processing power. It’s not planned obsolescence, really, it’s just straight up advancement.

    This doc doesn’t really dabble on the notion of planned obsolescence vs advancement at all. They are two completely different things, and this doc sort of makes it seem like everything is planned to be obsolete, when in reality some things are exceptions and just advance to clearly better technologies.

    Not all of the world’s growth has ridden on planned obsolescence – much of it has been advancement as well. Advancement is different because you can make new discoveries based on the advancement of certain technologies, rather than just replacing something with another thing that isn’t necessarily better like with planned obsolescence. Computers are replaced more often because of advancement rather than planned obsolescence. The printer was a bad example if they were trying to use that to represent computers.

    • Are you a complete retard? Do you know how much energy it takes to manufacture a computer? Idiot.

    • my humble Acer laptop 2007 has about 6 times the power and capacity of my first computer running w98 in 98 through 2005. it runs about 5 times slower. that’s not planned obsolescence, that’s a semi deliberated imposition of their commercial idiocy on the part of Windows and their overweight drive-clogging software- producing cronies.

    • Computers are another story all together. “Rumor” has it that they already have technology sitting in storage that is years ahead. They just choose to release it incrementally in order to make steady sales. I’ll bet they already have 64-core processors, tested and ready for consumers; they just won’t advertise them for another 10 years..

    • Computers are another story all together. “Rumor” has it that they already have technology sitting in storage that is years ahead. They just choose to release it incrementally in order to make steady sales. I’ll bet they already have 64-core processors, tested and ready for consumers; they just won’t advertise them for another 10 years..

  18. Well, when it comes to talk about these things I always show to people my headphones made by Manta, probably in 1970’s. They are huge, heavy (like the ones soldiers wear in tanks:) but the sound is awesome! I am a little bit audiophile and trust me, I tried many headphones, but these Manta’s are the best I ever tried and they are 40 years old! Also, I have old Blaunpunkt
    Hi-Fi…it’s just, you have that feeling that people created such better things with more quality and products that can last for many many years decades ago. Now you have “plastic” things and products, digital and they keep producing them better and better, but actually they are not better, they just look prettier and follow new design trends.

  19. Interesting documentary, but a bit one-sided. Planned obsolescence isn’t (usually) about a company making their products break so you’ll buy more, because you’d just buy a competitor’s product if it was clearly more reliable. What it’s about is getting the right balance of price and reliability to meet the customer’s expectations.

  20. Very interesting doc. I have always suspected planned obsolescence was part of a business model, but never knew an actual conspiracy ever existed. How? Because of the lifespan of Apple products like what was mentioned in the documentary. In the last few years I have become more aware of how new and improved products are reaching the store shelves at racing speed. Gaah, no wonder! That is just sheer greediness. I would be shocked if someone honestly planned obsolescence to raise the economy and give people employment. Apple is truly the perfect example. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    Btw, the doc’s subs is in Norwegian. Great watch!

  21. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes for posting this great documentary, but I found a site that translates the subtitles and comments into english.

    this is the link:

    If im not allowed to post this link please remove it. Only trying to help.
    Great documentary!

  22. Well…very nice doc unfortunately with parts in Germany with subtitles in Norwegian (or Danish can’t say) which limits the number of people who can understand it 🙂

  23. Great movie and it is a lot of true in this. More fancy, more sofisticated design, does not means necessary better and I say that from my own live experience. sometime we have to pay a higher price to get something good. Talking about sending western shit to poor countries: if you want to donete somthing….have you tried ever in you life to buy the best quality product and send donate it? Be onest…at least with yourself.

  24. This documentary does a very good job at explaining what we have all been thinking. I personally did not know how widespread planned obsolescence was. I wouldn’t even mind it so much, as long as we could make better use of the old products. Sending it all to Africa is pretty shameful. I wish they could set up a recycling facility and to turn their junkyard into a small money making scrap yard.