Past the market

Dhe first flat screen TV in the house was from Philips and cost DM 3000. It was a real investment, but the desire for chic innovation was stronger. In 1996, when Philips presented the first flat screen TV as a prototype at Cebit, the world was amazed. The device cost the equivalent of an unbelievable 15,000 euros when it was launched. At ten centimetres, it wasn’t really flat either, modern displays manage one centimeter and are part of everyday life. As far as can be remembered, tube televisions were not banned and flat screens were not subsidized. Apple’s first iPhone, when was that? It replaced a Nokia, was shockingly expensive, but the desire for chic innovation was stronger. As far as can be remembered, the push-button telephone was not banned and the touch telephone was not subsidized. In the kitchen, the pasta cooks on induction fields, the old plates are history. The stove was expensive, but the desire for chic innovation was stronger. As far as can be remembered, the hotplate has not been banned and induction has not been subsidised. Bicycles are a small passion, the racing bike still has to be moved with muscle power alone, a matter of honor. But the other classics are gathering dust because they are in their place e-bikes have kicked. They are many times more expensive, but the desire for the chic innovation was stronger. As far as can be remembered, classic bicycles are not prohibited and e-bikes are not subsidized.

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Of course, from these examples, of which there are certainly more, it cannot be deduced that people will grab it if they see an advantage in the new product and the market will fix it. At least not if you’re a politician in Brussels. Of course nobody knows whether the ladies and gentlemen in the Council of Ministers and the EU Commission use flat screen televisions, smartphones, induction hobs and e-bikes. Probably not, otherwise they might have confidence in supply and demand. Logical consequence: They ban the internal combustion engine, the electric car is subsidized. No sooner has the decision been made than awakens Thierry Breton from the off and explains: The switch to electromobility will destroy 600,000 jobs. 7 million charging points are needed, there are 350,000. Europe will soon need fifteen times the amount of lithium, four times the amount of cobalt and graphite, and three times the amount of nickel. And 25 percent more electricity, possibly generated from gas and coal. What’s the point? Incidentally, Breton is the Internal Market Commissioner, i.e. a member of the EU Commission.

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