|⇦|| Episode #534 - The Lightbulb Conspiracy
(Planned Obsolescence, Bottled Water and other Toxic Junk)
|⌚ Sat 15 January 2011 ☻Cosima Dannoritzer, Serge Latouche, John Thackara, Michael Braungart, Annie Leonard, Juliet Schor, Heather Rogers|
Download Hour1 Download Hour2 Did you know that in Livermore, California a bulb has been lit constantly since 1901 and is still going strong? This week's headline piece is a radio adaptation of The Lightbulb Conspiracy, a film about how the first international cartel not only increased prices but to decreased the lifetime of lightbulbs. We also hear Juliet Schor on overproduction and radio adaptations of Annie Leonard's The Story of Bottled Water, The Story of Cosmetics and The Story of Stuff, plus Heather Rogers' The Hidden Life of Garbage.
We conclude the first hour with the soundtrack of Annie Leonard's animated short, The Story of Bottled Water (2010), about how — anticipating elevated health concerns around soft drinks — beverage companies created the market for bottled water, and about the health and environmental costs of the product behind the deceptive advertising.
Our second hour starts with a talk by Juliet Schor to Harvard Law School entitled Colossal Failure, The Output Bias of Market Economies. She explains traditional economists' theories of how industry and ecology might balance, as well as why they don't in practice. One crucial shortcoming which she mentions is the lack of a social model of consumption, which explains why there is a bias towards overproduction and consumption of goods and services and a corresponding overprovision of labor. Her conclusion is that even in classical economic terms, many market outcomes are profoundly dysfunctional and that many of the problems stem from increasing skewness in income and property ownership.
We continue with the soundtrack of two animated shorts by Annie Leonard. First, the Story of Cosmetics (2010), which explains in simple terms the toxic reality behind the attractive images on cosmetics bottles. Next, her first film, The Story of Stuff (2007), which tells the story of the problems associated with consumer goods, and how short term the capitalist system is in terms of its inability to address issues of sustainability.Following obsolete goods to their logical conclusion, we conclude with Heather Rogers' 2005 film, The Hidden Life of Garbage, about waste disposal and pollution, especially in the last 50 years. This reveals that one of industry's most successful tactics was the creation of 'litter' as a concept, which shifted public concern away from the manufacturers of disposable products onto their consumers, emphasizing personal responsibility for the problem and minimizing corporate responsibility.
Thanks to Annie Leonard, Cosima Dannoritzer and Heather Rogers for their great films
The Wikipedia entry on Phoebus is disappointingly thin, and could be increased by citing stuff found in the film. Does anyone feel like doing a bit of research to document this better? :-)
Some of this episode's content is repeated in episode 668.
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