Saturday 6 June 2020

Planned Obsolescence (2014)

A superb and very entertaining story in The Paris Review, HERE, about a real-life cartel of ligh-bulb manufacturers called Phoebus, but introduced via its mention in Thomas Pynchon's book Gravity's Rainbow
On December 23, 1924, a group of leading international businessmen gathered in Geneva for a meeting that would alter the world for decades to come. Present were top representatives from all the major lightbulb manufacturers, including Germany’s Osram, the Netherlands’ Philips, France’s Compagnie des Lampes, and the United States’ General Electric. As revelers hung Christmas lights elsewhere in the city, the group founded the Phoebus cartel, a supervisory body that would carve up the worldwide incandescent lightbulb market, with each national and regional zone assigned its own manufacturers and production quotas. It was the first cartel in history to enjoy a truly global reach.