The Fight against Consumerism and Planned Obsolescence. The Everlasting Light Bulb


by Miriam Valero

The founder of the SOP movement has hit out against planned obsolescence by making an everlasting light bulb and establishing a movement with the aim of putting an end to the abusive practises of multinational companies.

Benito Muros is one of the world’s businessmen who haven’t accepted planned obsolescence, the policy is developed by many large multinational companies worldwide and aims to create products that cease to become functional after a period of time determined by the company, so that the product is purchased again.

In order to show that there are other ways to consume, Muros has created an everlasting light bulb and established the SOP Movement (Sin Obsolescencia Programada= Without Planned Obsolescence).

He insists that if products could be created to last much longer, a market for second hand products would be created, giving people work in repairing products instead of creating new ones as they do today, generating waste that pollutes the environment.

Muros was interviewed by The Prisma about this latest phenomenon to hit the world economy as well as his new product.

When was the first time you heard about planned obsolescence?

It was in 1999 during a trip I made to the United States. There I had the chance to see a light bulb at the Livermore Fire Station in California, which has remained lit non-stop for 111 years. Seeing this light bulb gave me a feeling of indignation, that we are constantly and intentionally being messed around in order to subject us to an economic system based on consumption for its own sake.

How did you react against this economic reality and start your obsolescence-free company OEP Electrics?

When it occurred to me that in that era, with the then-existing technology, a light bulb could be made to last 100 years, I thought why not now? It was then that I began to look into why there are now all kinds of electronic devices that have an increasingly short lifespan.

And that’s how the SOP Movement began…?

Yes. It was started up with the aim of making people aware of the need to change the current economic system, based as it is on planned obsolescence and credit, as well as financing projects, inventors’ products and initiatives that will have a bearing on this change in the current socio-economic system, and that will benefit the whole of society. Nowadays the big corporations try to cover up or hide these initiatives.

What guarantees does your light bulb offer that those currently being made do not?

To begin with, at OEP Electrics we offer a guarantee of 25 years, as long as the light bulb stays on 24 hours a day.

Has the general public taken to the light bulb?

The bulb is well accepted when we go to the customer directly. But we have had many problems, especially at the beginning of the project, in getting it accepted by the distributors.

At the moment we have just made an agreement with a company in keeping with the principles of the SOP movement, which is going to take charge of the commercialisation of our products. We trust that their help will open more doors for us so that we can bring our products to many more people.

Do you agree with Bernard London, who created planned obsolescence in 1932, that the fault for falls in consumption lies with those who don’t buy and not with the model of production?

Bernard London came up with that concept at the time when the earth’s sustainability was not a concern, because there was no research into the planet’s resources and their exhaustion. This is really important now, because we know that the world’s resources are not infinite, therefore we cannot continue to make things as if they were.

How can you prevent demand falling when creating long-lasting products?

In my opinion the question isn’t whether the demand falls or not if we create long-lasting products.

The question is how can we continue to use up all the world’s resources through endless consumption? However, even if demand falls, with a new economic model based on durability, as existed before, a second hand market would be created, where instead of working to create things that do not last very long, people would work in repairing them.

Do you think that the multinational companies may one day adopt initiatives like yours? Philips has recently brought a light bulb that lasts 20 years onto the market.

Yes, I think so. In the end, behind the great brands there are also people with first names and surnames, and I have trust in the good in people. In fact I think that evil, which is only an illness like any other thing, is not to be found in many people and it also has a cure through therapy in words, friendship and love. This philosophy has been erased from many people’s minds because of rampant consumerism.

We are in a bad economic situation due to, among many other factors, insatiable consumption. If products didn’t have planned obsolescence would we be in a better situation?

Without a doubt, while the current socio-economic model is based on consumption, on planned obsolescence, on credit and on wars in countries where traditional energy sources such as oil and gas exist, with the objective of gaining control of these energy sources and to be able to continue endlessly making things with short lifespans in order to generate consumption and credit. Something that has basically led us to the point where the world’s wealth is concentrated in fewer hands, and where banks and market speculators can even bring down whole countries through speculation with its sovereign debt.

Forcing them to cut costs for the rights that took people years to achieve, rights as basic as health and education.

Only we ourselves can make the push towards this necessary change, as has always been the case. That is what we are aiming for with the SOP movement, a peaceful mobilisation of people towards that change so that we may have a sustainable and logical economic model to manage our planet’s resources. There are alternatives, there is time, and therefore hope.

(Translated by Jose Stovell)

Articles by: Global Research News

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