Saturday, December 29, 2007

Edison might not be the best example here

Timothy Carney attempts to make the point that the manufacturers of compact fluorescent light bulbs had a hand in writing the energy bill which will outlaw incandescent light bulbs by 2012. In doing so he commits a fatal error.
Had Thomas Edison employed the same business strategy as his 21st-Century heirs at General Electric, he would have lobbied Congress to outlaw the candle in 1879 when he perfected and patented the light bulb.

He surely could have masked his self-interested lobbying in some public interest claim, such as fire prevention or the need for wax conservation. Today, the mask is environmentalism.

Yeah, well, it's unfortunate that Carney didn't bother to look a little deeper because Edison's 21st Century heirs learned well from their founding father.

It was said that Edison, well aware of his system becoming obsolete, would not accept AC because it wasn't his idea. He then launched an anti-AC campaign, describing DC as "a river flowing peacefully to the sea, while alternating current was like a torrent rushing violently over a precipice." With the help of Harold Brown, Edison would continue the battle for sales, and recognition. Brown assisted Edison's propaganda by electrocuting dogs and horses to demonstrate the "dangers" of the AC system. These string of electrocutions actually led the the development of the electric chair.

Maybe try a different example next time, Tim.

For an even better wade through the denialist swamp, Bouphonia has The Week in Denialism.

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