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[Draft] Regulation of Planned Obsolescence

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Kenmoria
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Founded: Jul 03, 2017
Corporate Bordello

Postby Kenmoria » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:28 pm

“Your definition clauses don’t really flow for me. I suggest putting ‘as’ before ‘where’, but it still doesn’t feel right.”
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Zenkarra
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Founded: Jul 19, 2019
New York Times Democracy

Postby Zenkarra » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:49 am

Araraukar wrote:OOC: Is toilet paper (and other things that you don't actually eat-consume) a consumable? My toilet has had to consume an awful lot of it this past week. And if yes, couldn't you call basically everything a consumable? This was probably raised before, but I'm not sure it was properly addressed?

Also, I really recommend splitting warranties off onto their own main clause (from 2.a.), because you could basically write an entire resolution on warranties. Bundling them up with this one would likely make all producers of basically anything go "the predicted lifetime is a week, your product's lifetime warranty is therefore a week", while it could last you several decades. Like take computers for example. Most component parts (the "innards") have guarantees of 1-3 years, power source (still an innard) might have more - my newest computer's got a 5 year guarantee (and a recommendation to not touch its settings as, according to the expert, "it could power up a small village, and then burn down your house"), for example - but will usually keep on working for... well, a long time. My oldest still working computer (I swear I'm not a computer hoarder, but some really good games don't work on new computers!) was put together early 2003. Or 2002. Thereabouts anyway. So clearly many (most?) computer parts waaaaay outlive their guaranteed lifespans.

You could call anything a consumable and get away with it, yes. I'm not sure if this is a problem though, as I doubt that most people would want to buy disposable versions of expensive products at full price. If I do decide to tackle this potential loophole, then it has to be done carefully enough that sandwiches and toilet paper don't get caught in this bill.

I think that if a product is able to outlive it's intended or stated lifespan, that this isn't an issue to be worried about in this bill. The intent is to inform consumers about, and reduce, planned obsolescence. Underestimating the lifespan of your own product discourages having planned obsolescence in them. If your product is designed to die in 3 years, and you have to under-shoot the warranty, it guarantees that you are at a competitive disadvantage against any business without planned obsolescence, as they can put any warranty length that they wish while you cannot. It also ensures that the consumer is getting at least the minimum of product that they agreed upon. Less than that is bad, but more than that is good.

Kenmoria wrote:“Your definition clauses don’t really flow for me. I suggest putting ‘as’ before ‘where’, but it still doesn’t feel right.”

I'll put "planned obsolescence" right after "defines" for the next draft. That clause probably needs to be re-worded since I got rid of definition 1c.
Last edited by Zenkarra on Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Imperium Anglorum
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Founded: Aug 26, 2013
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Imperium Anglorum » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:46 am

Let's talk about disposability.

You could call anything a consumable and get away with it, yes. I'm not sure if this is a problem though, as I doubt that most people would want to buy disposable versions of expensive products at full price. If I do decide to tackle this potential loophole, then it has to be done carefully enough that sandwiches and toilet paper don't get caught in this bill.

This is honestly a pretty contrived "loophole". Your bill would require that producers admit to their customers that their products are disposable. That has direct negative impacts to their ability to sell the product. If Apple told us explicitly that iPhones were not meant to work for more than a year, far fewer people would to themselves justify purchasing them.
Last edited by Imperium Anglorum on Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Araraukar
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Founded: May 14, 2007
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Araraukar » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:46 am

Imperium Anglorum wrote:If Apple told us explicitly that iPhones were not meant to work for more than a year, far fewer people would to themselves justify purchasing them.

OOC: ...wanna bet? :P Brand fanatics can be, well, fanatical. And that's basically what the warranty says already. All insurance is you betting that something bad will happen to you, and your insurer that it won't. And warranty is a kind of an insurance (don't get Legalese out, I'm talking of the very basics here), where the manufacturer is betting that the device will keep working for the given time and is willing to repair/replace at their own cost if they lose the bet, but completely washes their hands off of it when the warranty expires. Most smartphones come with 1, rarely 2 year warranties. That means the manufacturers daren't bet they'll keep working afterwards. If they were totally confident of making good quality things, they'd extend the warranties to 3 years or even more, since according to you (well, not necessarily you personally, but the point of view) that'd be a competition advantage. Given that they don't, that clearly signals that they don't expect the product to live much longer than that, or at least that the problems that would crop up would cost more to repair than the device is worth, and the production model going out of production meaning they'd have to replace with a better/newer model, so they'd rather wash their hands of it, say "not our problem anymore" and wish you good luck finding some craftsman able to repair or replace individual components later on. While trying to sell you their newest model.

So if "we make good stuff and believe it when we say that" (longer expected lifespan of device) was such a good competition advantage, why aren't we seeing that in RL with some of the most complex of modern devices, the smartphones? Or even computers (which are equally complex but usually differently so, plus most often components are more interchangeable)?
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Kenmoria
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5095
Founded: Jul 03, 2017
Corporate Bordello

Postby Kenmoria » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:09 am

“I suggest allowing for member nations to enforce a combination of options 2a and 2b, instead of forcing a dichotomous choice between them, with only flexibility provided for foreign imports.”
A representative democracy with a parliament of 535 seats
Kenmoria is Laissez-Faire on economy but centre-left on social issues
Located in Europe and border France to the right and Spain below
NS stats and policies are not canon, use the factbooks
Not in the WA despite coincidentally following nearly all resolutions
This is due to a problem with how the WA contradicts democracy
However we do have a WA mission and often participate in drafting
Current ambassador: James Lewitt

For more information, read the factbooks here.

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Imperium Anglorum
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8886
Founded: Aug 26, 2013
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Imperium Anglorum » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:06 pm

Ara— Because each generation has significant improvements which make older things obsolete? This would be compelling if innovation didn't exist, but oh, we aren't in a steady state economy.

Moreover, I get at least a two year warranty on my phone via multiple networks, the premise doesn't appear valid. AppleCare too is not expensive. The direct manufacturer warranty is built into the price, of people choose not to extend it, that is the choice they made.

Then, there's this idea called depreciation, and more broadly, there's this pretty basic consumer theory which implies that utility per unit currency under constrained optimisation determines consumption patterns. So if that utility ratio goes up: incredible, people make an optimal choice to replace their technology.

I mean seriously, ad arguendo, computer parts used to advance so rapidly there was no point to warranties of any sort beyond the release date of the next set of parts.

Author: 1 SC and 28 GA resolutions
Maintainer: GA Passed Resolutions
Developer: Communiqué and InfoEurope
Delegate for Europe
Out-of-character unless marked otherwise
Ideological Bulwark 285, WALL delegate
Dastardly villain providing free services to the community sans remuneration

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