Sorry, but why are you complaining?

Republicans claimed to have struck a blow for freedom on Friday when the House of Representatives voted to strip all funding from government programmes promoting energy-saving lightbulbs.

If not incandescent light bulbs are so good then why does there need to be government money (ie, taxpayers\’ money) promoting not incandescent light bulbs?

7 thoughts on “Sorry, but why are you complaining?”

  1. Surreptitious Evil

    Because it is the Guardian and:

    1. we must be forced to buy energy-saving lightbulbs to save the planet from imminent incineration;

    2. government spending is a moral good, regardless of its effects or effectiveness.

    You don’t have to agree with, or even understand, their reasons to understand why they are following a logical path (given false premises) and acting that way.

  2. Botzarelli:

    Your’e probably right that they don’t buy on the basis of whole-life costs. But some may. The question is why anyone should be forced to buy on the basis of something important to someone other than themselves. Sounds dictatorial and tyrannic to me on the face of it.

    Many new products come to market without clear-cut, obvious advantages other than initial cost. It’s the manufacturer’s (or the seller’s) job to set forth the reason(s) why his product is better (it’s known as advertising).

  3. Yep, consumers don’t buy solely on the basis of whole-life costs.

    They also look at the quality/colour of light – which is ghastly with many energy-saving lamps, particularly the cheaper ones where the whole-life cost would be smaller than with incandescents.

    They may also decide to think of the environment and not buy things that release mercury to our surroundings when we break the lamp by accident.

  4. As an UK consumer who buys “energy-efficient” light-bulbs whenever he can (it is not always possible) and winces when they fail much faster than the promotional data promises, my answer is:
    Governments believe that the benefits to the world and to their own country from using low-energy light-bulbs exceed the additional cost to consumers.
    If they genuinely believe this it is not immoral, whether or not it is true. However anyone who knows this to be untrue but lies to the government is immoral.

  5. I want to move to all-LED lighting. But that would require a complete electrical strip-down of my apartment, a fairly serious piece of line-conditioning kit to tame the noisy bullshit the local power company seems to think is acceptable mains voltage, and a thousand bucks’ worth of bulbs. Right now I use CFLs, because incandescents tolerate noise so badly (a tungsten filament bulb’s lifetime goes something like the inverse 12th power of the supply voltage: feed a 115V bulb 120V for a few seconds a month and you’ll be buying a new one long before the rated 1000 hours).

  6. David G’s relevant here, as an informed buyer. One’s view on this depends on whether you think the lightbulb market matches up with rational expectations models, which it would if all lightbulb buyers were as informed as David. If it does, then nobody in their right mind would buy incandescents. If it doesn’t – not least because, like pjt, they might believe made-up nonsense about CFLs – then they might, and would be better off if they didn’t.

    I buy tungsten bulbs solely for the few rooms in my rental flat that feature dimmer switches. Due to a combination of crazy Australian law protecting electricians, and not wanting to infuriate my landlord, despite being entirely happy and capable to replace the dimmers with regular switches, I’ve decided it’s probably better to not.

    Of course, the market *will* solve the problem in five years, at which point LEDs will cost as much CFLs do now, and only utterly crazy people would even consider buying tungsten.

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