Thank God for Global Warming!
Fear is not an option!

Saving the World One Lightbulb at a Time!

On forums and on various shows on radio and tv I hear people discussing how they are advocating the replacement of incandescent light-bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.  It is always in the name of stopping ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Saving the Planet’. 

This is a good example of doing things backwards and getting in the way of real progress.

If you follow their advice and go searching for these fluorescent bulbs you will find that they have come down in price.  In Walmart you can buy them for about .74 cents.  It varies somewhat by location.  You can buy other bulbs of higher quality for $1 to $5.  I suppose you can spend as much as you would like on these things much like anything else.  The point is they have come down to where they are only about four times the cost of incandescent bulbs.  Why?  Is it like other new products in the market place?  Increased production, new technology, and competion driving down prices.  Well, I would like to think this did it but its not the main driving force to lowering prices, its subsidies from the Federal and various State and local governments.  What could be wrong with that?

It is government messing with the free market.  Trying to speed it up.  What they have done is doomed the compact fluorescent bulb.  How could that be?  On these programs and sites pushing this technology even the proponents have to admit the problems with these bulbs.  They have a reliability problems in many uses and with some models.  The light quality and quantity is not what people need or want in many settings.  And finally with government subsidies, they are four times the cost of incandescent bulbs. 

By having these bulbs pushed by many different groups into the front of the pack for being ‘Green’ they have people using a technology that will be inferior and expensive.  The technology was not allowed to mature in the market, being pressured by market forces to improve quality and lower price through innovation.  More importantly, by subsidizing this technology, it has an artifitial advantage against other new technology that may do a better job and could possibly have a long term advantage in value in the market place.  One of these technologies is LED lights.  They start with a huge advantage in reliability, lasting thousands of hours.  They are much more expensive but they are getting cheaper in many applications.  They are much more effecient in energy use and don’t have the problems with difficult to dispose of metals in their construction. 

Now when these are ready to become the primary type of lighting used in homes and business, the bad taste of compact fluorescents will still be fresh and the compact fluorescents will have s price advantage they don’t deserve.  Other new technologies could be coming around the mountain too, and they will have a more difficult time reaching the market and competing because of subsidies on older less efficient technology.  You may say, ‘Oh we’ll just stop the subsidies.’  That won’t be so easy.  It is these large companies that have used their political influence to get politicians and celebs to push their technology as an environmental savior.  They are the force behind getting the subsidies for their product because they couldn’t compete.  They won’t give up this technology and the subsidies for a new one easily.  There is not very much competition in the field of lighting which is the real obstacle to driving technology forward and the price down.  By subsidizing this technology It sours the market on new technology and keeps new technology from being as good a value to the consumer.

Pulling perfectly good bulbs out and replacing them with new ones is not good for the environment.  It is not conserving anything.  I think you should buy what you want.  It is handy to know if you are being manipulated though.  What ever decisions you make in your life about how you spend your money, you should do what you want and know as much as you can about your choices.  Than you go into those decisions with your eyes open.

Be skeptical and follow the money.  That’s usually what is behind these movements to change public opinion and behavior,

Brutus!

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