muscadine: (Sociology)
[personal profile] muscadine
We spent part of class time today watching and talking about this news story that aired on NBC Nightly News last night about the closure of a GE incandescent light bulb factory. It was a great example of how social structures and forces influence personal troubles/outcomes in several respects, but the best part was talking about what the story doesn't touch on.

People are still buying light bulbs - they're just CFL/Halogen/LED. By checking other media sources on this story you can find out some interesting additional information. The CFL was invented in the US but it wasn't developed further or pushed here because it was deemed too labor intensive (the "twist" has to be done manually). Chinese companies, on the other hand, took it on and are now unsurprisingly current lead producers of CFLs. The leading Chinese company who manufactures CFLs is looking at building a factory here in the US so they can sell "Made in America" CFLs. They believe they are marketable at a premium price. So why didn't GE just refit the factory or open a new factory for CFLs? They say it would be cost prohibitive and are moving factories overseas where labor is cheaper.

Does the linked story by NBC say anything about any of this? No. The factory is closing and people are out of jobs permanently because of big bad government and those pesky environmentalist consumers. Does this slant to the story probably have something to do with the fact NBC is owned by GE? Hmmm.

In my first class of over 100 students not a single student knew NBC was owned by GE.
In the second class of over 100 students at least one and possibly a handful knew, but most did not.

Light. Bulb. Moment.


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