“Lights of Other Days” by John Frederick Peto (1854-1907), from The Beauty of America in Great American Art (MCMLXV– that’s 1965 for those who don’t do Roman numerals); image from Art Institute Chicago.
The other day, when I told the story of the Libertarian washing machine, faithful reader Suek commented with these thoughts on light bulbs, the light industry, regulations, and the future of lighting. This all seemed too important to leave in the comments section. Here are Suek’s thoughts (with minor formatting editing):
… I understand the frustration with the government regulation thing as well. As you know – we sell lightbulbs. You have _no_ idea of the range of lightbulbs out there – and the government is well on the way to eliminating many of them.
The problem as I see it is that we’ve built no new power plants for about 25 years, and we’ve had a pretty large increase in population during that time. Add to that the government limitations on coal production (which accounts for about 1/3 of the production of electricity east of the Mighty Miss) and you have severe restraints on the amount of power available.
So…first the demand that we all use fluorescents. So we’ve pretty much adjusted to them. But of course, we have all that terribly un-environmentally safe mercury in fluorescents, so now we have LEDs. Of course, they’re a bit pricey (ready to pay 10 bucks for a light source that used to cost about .75??) Yes, they do last a very long time – that is, if the driver doesn’t fail…all LEDs have to have a driver, by the way. Some units that use LEDs have an external driver, but the lightbulbs all have an internal driver. If the driver fails, you have no light. I recommend you keep a file for your purchases – so you can return them and claim either a refund or a replacement if they fail within the warrantied period. Their economy is somewhat exaggerated – a fluorescent used about 1/4th to 1/5th of the power you need for an incandescent. The LEDs are 1/6th to 1/7th. Not such an increase considering the price difference. The prices _will_ come down – we’re clearly moving in that direction – but we’re still in the “pretty pricey” category. And you better be sure that your manufacturer is a reputable one – or that they’ll replace or refund for you in case of failure. You also need to determine how many lumens your present bulb puts out…because that’s the only way to determine what a comparable bulb is going to give you…
Anyway…if the government didn’t limit the electric plant start-ups through the EPA plus shutting down coal mines through use of the EPA , we wouldn’t have the problem in the first place.
And, by the way, the USA doesn’t manufacture any of this stuff any more- it’s all made in China. So, we’re also eliminating jobs.
Great job, big government!!!