Economy »Useful Life

Definition of Useful Life

In a consumer society like the one we live in, all or the vast majority of goods and products have a limited shelf life.

What exactly does the shelf life refer to? That for each good there is an estimate of how long it will be able to be used without losing its essential characteristics. This estimate is usually provided by manufacturing companies to provide information to the consumer. Do not forget that this data can be decisive for the acquisition of a product.

Main parameters of the useful life

To establish the useful life of an object there are a number of factors to consider: the quality of the raw material used, the production process, exposure to natural conditions, human use and the intrinsic wear of the good itself. Think of a simple pen, its useful life will depend on the wear of the ink and not the material used for its manufacture.

The useful life in the economy

This concept is commonly used in economic terminology. It must be taken into account that the information on the useful life of a product is decisive for the accounting of a company. On the other hand, knowing how long a good is going to serve can help to schedule its amortization , account for possible repairs or establish a marketing strategy . Naturally, the life of a product is directly related to the production process of a company, with the price variations of that product and, ultimately, with business profitability .

Scheduled obsolescence

Programmed obsolescence is understood as the strategy of the companies themselves so that the useful life of a product is as appropriate as possible for their economic interests. This presents a conflict of interest between producers and consumers, as the manufacturer does not make the best possible product, but that product has been programmed to stop serving at a certain time (for example, a photocopier can be programmed to make 20,000 photocopies and from of this number the device stops working and its useful life has ended).

The phenomenon of programmed obsolescence has an overwhelming logic from the business point of view, since if a product had an unlimited useful life, the company that manufactures it could lose money and end up closing. However, it is clear that this type of practice has a deceptive intention towards the consumer.

With respect to this phenomenon, countries such as France and others have promoted laws that pursue the abuses associated with this form of manufacturing.

Photos: Fotolia - Igoror - Andrey Popov

Author: Javier Navarro | Site: - definition | Date: June 2017 | URL: /economia/vida-util.php
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