Reuters reports that a German entrepreneur carefully studied the EU legislation that put a ban on traditional, incandescent light bulbs and found a loophole that enabled him to deliver the product consumers want. Siegfried Rotthaeuser classified 75 & 100 watt bulbs as “small heating devices” and branded them “Heatballs” since 95% of the energy consumed by the bulbs is converted to heat with only 5% converted to light. This enabled him to circumvent the ban on the bulbs. Rotthaeuser even pledged to donate 30 cents for rainforest perservation for every bulb sold. He feels that, due to the mercury contained in the bulbs, his solution is more environmentally friendly.
It is wonderful that Mr. Rotthaeuser was entrepreneurial enough to give the public a product they more highly valued, thereby increasing their standard of living. However, it is unfortunate that his entrepreneurial skills had to be put to use solving a problem arbitrarily created by government rather than toward solving a problem for which a solution does not yet exist.
Though I personally use only compact florescent lights (CFLs) in my own home because I like them and they are cheaper to own, this is a simple case of property rights. No government should ever dictate which lights a person can use in his or her own home. What ever happened to the notion that a man’s home is his castle?