General Electric Thinks Regulation Needed for Innovation?

As long as I am writing about the National Journal’s coverage of global warming, here’s a perplexing quote from the chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt (2004 salary: $8.5 million), as reported in the National Journal cover story “Heating Up,” by Margaret Kriz (8/6/05 issue):

We think that real targets, whether voluntary or regulatory, are helpful because they drive innovation. We believe in the power of market mechanisms to address the needs of the environment.

Aside from the weird construction (“the environment” can’t have “needs” — it is what it is), sentence two is okay, but sentence one is a stunner. The CEO of General Electric thinks more government regulation on General Electric is a positive thing?This article says Jeffrey Immelt is “trying to revivify the culture of innovation at GE” (is “revivify” a word?). If so, that government should regulate GE more intensely is a doggone odd way to do it.

Why can’t GE innovate for the old-fashioned reason — because it likes profits?

Immelt’s quote reminds me of the scene in the movie “Animal House” in which pledges to the geek fraternity, while being paddled, are forced to say “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”

I was raised in a Westinghouse family. We never did understand those GE people.

Addendum: Apparently, revivify is a word.

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