The Disservice Economy and its Bad Goods - Powering the Global Money Engine 4

January 02, 2018

Long-laugh Light bulbs

Everyone in the world who uses such light bulbs will have had some experience of how wasteful and how contradictory to their sold purpose to us as gullible publics they in fact are.

One is with great difficultly able to get any of the older type non-long-life bulbs. In the developed and civilised nations they are no longer being produced nor traded.  These old non-long life bulbs have been outlawed; like Robin Hood and his Merry Men, whilst the Sheriff and his soldiery of long-life heroes continue to squeeze the common people of Sherwood.

In the beginning, these long-life bulbs were being given away free of charge to households; one was able to stockpile them there were so many freebies circulating. They were popped through your door or handed out at the retail stores, and by the man who reads your electricity meter; everywhere; as if the future was bright and light would be everywhere for ever after.

The earliest ones were clumsy-looking bulbs; with two or four parallel tubes like a tiny bendy fluorescent tube shape.  But the promise and the prognosis could hardly be beaten.  These unwieldy mis-shapes were to last ten or fifty times as long as were the old style kinds which we all over the country were happily replacing with the long-lifers gung-ho and jolly-like.  They didn’t do badly either; not ten times as good but at least as long as a conventional old type bulb.  And since they had been freebies well, they must have been prototypes; and the real things coming to market now in droves for a song apiece would be far better and last the whole nine yards. Wouldn’t they.

But instead of life getting longer for a light bulb, almost unanimously the photons irradiating our rooms and stairways seemed to have decided to work to rule and to walk out shortly after they were being installed to employment.  For all the scientific breakthrough hype and the grand promises of low cost and long life lighting; energy saving and a new era in providing illumination; all that guff which TV likes to spread like manure into our living rooms whenever the science pundits get a slot;  none of it lived up to expectations.

Instead we have now in UK at least – I cannot speak for elsewhere -  a case where single light bulb  - which used to cost old style about one tenth of the price of a new-style bulb – in real terms and not in not-counting-inflation terms – now sets one back a fiver (£5) or more.  And for one’s money one gets a bulb which is as likely as not to blow within two or three months of its installation in the home.  The long-life bulbs do not last as long as did the old style short-life bulbs.  But yet we as a nation have changed over successfully and utterly to the new long-lifers.

It must have been a con. But why?  Look at the resources being squandered by this changeover which has utterly  failed to live anywhere near up to what it was said to be by all experts and all pundits in a single affirmative voice.

OK, maybe the old bulb types were using materials needed elsewhere; or their materials were becoming too costly or rare for them to be continued to be made; or maybe they were unhealthy to bask under? – Where does one see a fluorescent tube overhead these days? - All gone, every one, from a situation previously wherein every office and most stores used them everywhere not twenty years ago.

Nobody has ever heard or been offered or given an adequate explanation about what went on; why and how this change was managed; how it was considered to be necessary.

We all accepted the fact when we were told that the old bulbs were inferior and costly. Yet here we are as a nation binning say twice or maybe even up to ten times as many waste spent bulbs – all that glass – all that metal – all that engineering and manufacture, shipping, and retailing, mining and processing – than we were as a nation twenty years ago.  And not because of demographic or population changes, nor because we ask more use of more light bulbs each per household than we did once; but simply because the new product is vastly inferior to the one it supplanted – and the new product burns out very much fast than did the old one.

Just exactly who is making and has made a killing out of this global changeover, and why one is unable easily to get old type bulbs anymore, are never discussed; a blank sheet; a swept under carpet issue; and no-one seems to call anyone else out over it – not in politics – not in any area of social life.

Maybe, taking our Brexit negotiations as the paradigm, it was just one enormous political cock-up? Or maybe the government was also conned, just as were the people by the government’s literature about the new era for lighting – and Brexit.  But why not bring back the old style bulbs? Was there something sinister found out about them?  And does a new-style light bulb really cost so much to manufacture and ship that it has to cost shoppers here so dearly?

But there you go, promises in the consumer society are so easily able to be broken without any issue or comeuppance to the betrayer. We have websites which sport UK domain names and which after the fact of one’s making a purchase inform you they are shipping to you from China or Korea or Hong Kong.  We have sellers on UK sites who carefully avoid showing you the true size of an item; or else withhold the all-round view of an item, or else do not give or offer any detailed descriptions or instructions about what they have on offer; and who use deceitful deceptions deliberately so as to suggest value or economy or quality or usefulness, and all this over and above the actual fact of the product or service.

These things are barely legal, and generally go against the websites’ Terms and Conditions for posting items for sale; but these things occur in such great numbers that to enforce would be quasi-suicidal to the websites concerned.

Likewise in the Poundshops in every city centre overseas junk shipped from half way around the world is set on shelves to be bought, and then almost immediately to fail or to break or to be discovered unfit for purpose by its buyer. What a thorough waste of a world’s resources; fuel, mining, growing, processing, manufacture, work, crews, shipbuilding, air flights, paperwork, etc, etc; slap-happy Capitalism casting bad money after bad and good resources into the waste bins and landfills of the nations. Literally for an easy fast buck

I have heard people say one only gets what one pays for; a saying which once might have been somewhat true; but which today is honoured more only in the breach or as the exception to the rule; because right now one might just as well pick a supplier out of a hat as go for the item which looks the part.

The new style light bulb was a massive global sting made by persons unknown and one which seems to have taken all of us ignorami numbskulls about electrics and about commerce by complete surprise.  The long-laugh light bulb