There was an editorial (The Light Bulb Police) in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal that spoke of the upcoming ban in the U.S. on conventional 100 watt incandescent light bulbs. One sentence in particular grabbed my attention: “The question an (allegedly) free society should ask is if CFL [compact fluorescent light] bulbs are so clearly superior, why does the government have to force people to buy them?”
It occurred to me that this question could have been offered against the once planned requirement within GIPS(R) (Global Investment Performance Standards) to mandate verifications; in a sense, this was an argument I made, as I believed with confidence that the market would apply a de facto requirement upon firms to undergo annual verifications.
Of course, the GIPS Executive Committee saw the wisdom of not requiring GIPS compliant firms to undergo verifications, because the market has done this for them. I think that this same attitude should be used as a test for future changes to the standards, as many items can no doubt be left to the firms themselves to discover the benefits of.
p.s., I am one of those U.S. citizens who oppose this new law. I have the right today to purchase CFLs, but have decided not to, in spite of the expectation that it might save me a whopping $50 per year. There are disadvantages to CFLs, including the fact that they aren’t as bright as incandescent lights; perhaps the same can be said about the members of Congress who voted for the law’s passage.