Now The Government Even Wants To Decide Which Lightbulbs You Use In Your House.

by John Hawkins | January 31, 2007 3:53 pm

Is there any part of the marketplace or people’s lives that the government doesn’t want to stick its nose into? Quite frankly, proposals like this one[1] should be voted down simply because the government has no business regulating such a thing:

“A California lawmaker wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs as part of California’s groundbreaking initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The “How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act” would ban incandescent lightbulbs by 2012 in favor of energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

“Incandescent lightbulbs were first developed almost 125 years ago, and since that time they have undergone no major modifications,” California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine said on Tuesday.

“Meanwhile, they remain incredibly inefficient, converting only about 5 percent of the energy they receive into light.”

Levine is expected to introduce the legislation this week, his office said.

…Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use about 25 percent of the energy of conventional lightbulbs.

…Many CFLs have a spiral shape, which was introduced in 1980. By 2005, about 100 million CFLs were sold in the United States, or about 5 percent of the 2-billion-lightbulb market, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Personally, I like CFLs and use them in my house, but they’re not perfect. They are certainly much more expensive to buy. Additionally, the light that comes from them doesn’t seem to be quite as intense as the light that comes from a regular bulb and they also don’t fit into the normal lampshades.

Now, those things may seem like minor quibbles, but why not let the market decide that instead of allowing the government to pick between competing products? After all, wasn’t part of the reason that the Soviet Union got into so much economic trouble because government apparatchiks, none of whom were probably much smarter or dumber than Loyd Levine, were making decisions about which products would succeed and which products would fail instead of leaving it to the marketplace?

If CFLs are really as fantastic as Lloyd Levine seems to think, then they’ll eventually come to dominate the market anyway without government interference. So, California should just leave it alone and let people make their own decisions about which lightbulbs they prefer.

  1. like this one:

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