The Economics of Planned Obsolescence of Manufactured Goods: A Case Study of Ceramics and Leather Products
One of the developments that trailed the evolution of technology and industrialization at the turn of twentieth century is the policy or theory of planned obsolescence. Professionals were given the power to determine the lifespan of products as they so wish. To achieve this, the third requirement for standardized products which is durability must be compromised resulting to products with inbuilt assigned life circle which must end at an appropriate time deem fit by the manufacturers. It was argued that product durability constitutes economic paralyses preventing economies from consuming the abundant raw materials, limiting the space for constant reproduction to create employment for millions of job seekers. This research aimed to examine the economic impact that this policy has on leather and ceramic products. The objective is to investigate the conditions that surround the obsolescence of leather and ceramic products and other variables that correlates the economic implication and the degradation technology or mechanism behind this planned obsolescence of leather and ceramic products. The methodology focuses on three main areas which are: influence and impacts of demand side, the supply side, the environmental side and lastly, the one sided and two sided markets. Findings reveal that increase in demand and production motivated producers to implement the policy of planned obsolescence thereby arresting the shift in preference to other products of manufacture. Equally, the manufacturers understood the technicalities of product grading thereby using this device to influence or manipulate consumers to abandon some products in preference for others. It also revealed that, this policy of induced purchase and periodic change of dysfunctional or obsolete goods impact negatively on the economy of consumers. More, all abandoned and unused products end up as waste and are the causes of environmental degradation. Lastly, findings also blamed the depletion of our natural resources on the policy of planned obsolescence of products of which leather and ceramic products are included. The article concludes by noting that, businesses thrive on account of this policy, but it induces wasteful spending and increased environmental waste and degradation.
Keywords: Obsolescence, ceramics and leather products, economy.