Wednesday, February 22, 2012


This morning's LA Times reports that "More Americans are waiting longer to replace their vehicles".  I think that most car owners know that their autos are better and more durable than ever.  All this reminded me that I had not heard of "planned obsolescence" for a while.  Sure enough, this Ngram shows use of that phrase had peaked shortly before 1975.

Planned obsolescence was always a silly idea, one which did not grasp the power of competition (including from abroad).  In fact, strange as it seems, competition is still an underrated and underappreciated phenomenon.

Yes, there are profit-seeking people and businesses among us.  And that's a wonderful thing -- as long as they are subject to competition.  And competition is powerful.  There are more "category busters" serving us than ever, with many more to come.  Just look at the smart phone in your pocket.

Whether it is "big oil" or big-you-name-it, the profits involved are usually cited as part of some sinister scenario.  Last Sunday's 60-Minutes did it again re the possible placebo effects of anti-depressants and all those profits reported by drug manufacturers.

Is there an investigative report in the works that shows how profits are beneficial and essential -- unless they are rents that result from government bail-outs or political favors or government prohibitions of competition? 

It is interesting that profits reported by the new General Motors are seen as a good thing because they were blessed and supported by politicians.


Re autos.  H/T Carpe Diem.