The Washington Post has a story today about the closing of GE’s last incandescent light bulb factory in the US. I don’t have any particular love for incandescent bulbs, but I do get annoyed at command-and-control regulations that interfere unnecessarily in individual freedom. Particularly on this issue where a pigouvian tax could have incented energy saving, while allowing thos who love incandescent bulbs to continue owning them.
Given my distaste for the original law, I take a certain perverse pleasure in the fact that it has had a big, economically destructive, unintended consequence.
The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense. But the move also had unintended consequences.
Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.
Yep, that’s right. They’ve manged to lower the quality of the light in my bedroom and send most light bulb production overseas in just a few years. A remarkable achievement.