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Dim bulbs not quite so dim any longer

Gee, what do you know? Government regulation spurs innovation.

When Congress passed a new energy law two years ago, obituaries were written for the incandescent light bulb. The law set tough efficiency standards, due to take effect in 2012, that no traditional incandescent bulb on the market could meet, and a century-old technology that helped create the modern world seemed to be doomed.

But as it turns out, the obituaries were premature.

Left to the free market, the incandescent bulb industry would probably have just puttered along, selling century-old technology that wasted energy and indirectly generated air pollution from the power plants that supply electricity, because doing so was a slow-growth but high-cashflow business. But then, when the government toughens up energy efficiency standards, the industry suddenly realizes it has to do things differently in order to survive, and comes up with a vastly improved product. For the same reason, if the government finally gets tough with the coal industry and the power plants it feeds, the result won't be the death of those industries, but instead revitalized industries that do things better than they did before. Same thing with raising fuel efficiency and emissions standards for the auto industry - if those companies are smart enough to change, they'll survive and even thrive. And if they're not smart enough, they shouldn't be in business anyway.

July 6, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink


Amen to that. Like the automakers suddenly saying, "Hey, higher CAFE standards is a NEAT idea!!" after the gov't pumps billions into them. So crazy.

Posted by: Tim at Jul 6, 2009 7:28:38 PM

Why do you hate America?


Posted by: Paul Lamb at Jul 7, 2009 5:48:04 AM

Just being true to my elitist, socialist, communist, collectivist, redistributionist self.

Posted by: Pete at Jul 9, 2009 4:42:02 PM