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'[OT] Better-designed CFL's?'
2008\07\28@124034 by Bob Blick

I moved this [OT].

On Mon, 28 Jul 2008 01:15:51 -0700, "Vitaliy" <> said:

> I prefer to express my position as "government is a necessary evil" ( (C)
> Thomas Paine).

Why do you consider it evil? There are lots of people who participate in
government and I can assure you the vast majority of them are not evil
and do a good job.

> Residents of certain cities (Killadelphia?) would argue that life seems
> pretty risky now. At least back then, AKs weren't as common.

Guns are protected by the Constitution, basically gun deaths are part of
the package. If you want fewer guns, you need to choose a different

{Quote hidden}

So living here is best, even with nasty taxes and big government. Funny,
I expected you to say something like that.

> However, one of the reasons I choose not to live in California or
> Washington, for example, is because they have big governments. Arizona is
> more business-friendly.

If you were gay or part of a biracial couple you might find Arizona not
so friendly.

> May I ask what you do/did for a living? And why you think it's OK for the
> government to take your money?

I am not a selfish person. Taxes pay for things that society needs.
Education. Helping crippled old black grandmothers, etc. In civilized
societies we have certain responsibilities. I am a talented white male
engineer. I will always be able to generate a decent income(assuming
nothing debilitating happens to me). Not everyone is in such a good
position. Do we ignore them? Exploit them?

I give money to street people. That seems fairly uncommon, just a small
percentage of people give money to the needy. How do I know they are
needy? They're on the street begging for money, for God's sake!

If taxes were voluntary, would you pay them?

> But seriously, this is a bad example to support your argument. The cost
> of
> cleaning up the air was borne almost exclusively by the manufacturers and
> the consumers (car buyers).

Who else is going to pay? And it wouldn't have happened if there hadn't
been laws requiring it.

>  All states obey the same regulations dictated by the EPA (they're based
>  on
> CARB regulations). Enough time had passed since the regulations went into
> effect nationwide (1996) so that vehicles in California pollute about as
> much as vehicles in other states. FWIW, the air in Phoenix is cleaner,
> and
> there's definitely less smog than in LA.

California has always led the fight against pollution. Recently the
federal EPA blocked California's attempt to do more.

And doesn't your company make a product that takes advantage of those
1996 regulations requiring a standard set of data protocols? How come
market forces weren't enough to do such a simple thing as all car
manufacturers agreeing on common data protocols?

> Mind you, I'm all for clean air. I believe that in a limited number of
> situations it is OK for the government to compensate for an externality,

In order to do compensation they have to have some money to do that, and
that means taxes and regulation. Have you suddenly switched sides and
are now pro-taxation? "Limited number of situations" sounds like a
pretty slippery slope towards big government :)

> If the goal is to save energy, the incentive should reward people for
> saving
> energy, not buying inferior quality CFLs.

Who said anything about inferior CFLs? I bought Philips for under a

> There are much better ways to create the incentive, for example:
> 1. Let the market price of electricity reflect its actual cost. The best
> way
> to accomplish this is to deregulate the energy sector.

I call B.S.! Deregulation is what allowed Enron to jack up the cost of
electricity to 100 times the market value.

> 2. Give people vouchers, that can be used to buy any CFLs of consumer's
> choice.

All CFLs were discounted, instant rebates, no limit, no vouchers needed.

> 3. Provide tax breaks.

Poor people don't benefit from tax breaks, only rich ones like you and
I. And again let me point out that I am not selfish, so I recognize that
something that benefits people of my class is quite often unfair to
those with less.

> In general, it's a bad idea to encourage people to use a particular
> technology (CFLs, catalytic converters, etc), it's better to align the
> incentive as closely as possible with the stated goal.

But those are both great technologies! How can you say that? Why not
pick something stupid, like hydrogen, if you are going to make that

Cheeful regards,


-- - Access your email from home and the web

2008\07\28@213534 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Bob Blick wrote:

> How come market forces weren't enough to do such a simple thing as all
> car manufacturers agreeing on common data protocols?

Or end the high cost with the USA industry at large still not having moved
to metric (which it eventually will)? Or end the high cost of inter-bank
transactions being fed through the current system (which takes some four
days until a simple bank-to-bank ACH transfer can be considered confirmed,
and even then it's not possible to identify the sender at the receiver's
end or add something like an invoice number to the transaction)?

IMO that's because market forces have a relatively small horizon, both in
time and in spread. As Olin pointed out some time ago, for most companies
it's not economical to do something like this (adopting a common protocol,
adopting common measurements) as long as not everybody does it. And
everybody won't do it unless it's required by law. This creates local
optimums, with a relatively small range, and the direction towards these
local optimums may be contrary to the direction of larger scale optimums.
But companies rarely will take that move, especially not if the larger
optimum depends on other companies making the same move.


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