Reliable Electricity is Essential to Economic Development

No Roads and No Electricity: Why Fossil Fuels are Indispensable for Development

I live in the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore. Except for the tech companies, there aren’t many similarities between Bangalore (now Bengaluru) and the Silicon Valley in California.

I live in the northern part of the city. Roads here remain in an unusable condition. They are worse than any bad road you would find in the U.S. The road leading to my neighborhood—frequented by thousands of cars every day—has remained dug up for more than 400 days now. In fact, reports indicate that around 30,000 roads in the city of Bengaluru remain either dug up or in worse condition.

Electricity infrastructure experiences frequent failures and inability to cope with even a slight drizzle of rain. Power blackouts—like the one that occurred in New York in early July—are an everyday event in many parts of India.

That is an appalling situation even by Third World standards, given that the city is the hub of some of the richest tech companies in the world.

Despite rapid economic development in India, some of India’s biggest cities still lack basic infrastructure and sanitation facilities. One reason is how rapidly its economy has grown—outpacing the growth of its infrastructure.

With 1.3 billion people, India’s developing economy can only achieve infrastructure progress in its major cities by achieving rapid economic progress. The economic progress in turn is primarily dependent on its energy sector. Energy is the backbone of any developing economy.

Ever since the liberalization of its economy in the 1990s, India has progressed by leaps and bounds. The manufacturing and service industries are slowly drawing people away from agriculture.

Many forget that this propulsion of India’s economy in the past three decades, and of any growing economy for that matter, was made possible because fossil fuels have provided energy and improved agricultural outputs: the two key pillars of India’s economy.

Today, India produces more electricity than required, but the transmission infrastructure is far behind the standards of developed countries. Fossil fuel provides more than three-fourths of the country’s energy. Fossil fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides have helped the country produce enough food for domestic consumption and export.

Twenty years ago, everyone I knew was aware of the fact that coal is one of the major solutions to our energy problems. We were right.

Today, coal is not only the country’s largest contributor to electricity, it is also the cheapest and most abundant source, resulting in uninterrupted power supply in places that have good grid infrastructure.

Our infrastructure—including transport and other public utility systems—will improve only as our economy continues to use the coal reserves, the existing oil resources, and the newly discovered natural gas reserves.

India’s defiant embrace of fossil fuels, despite pressure from anti-fossil establishments, gives hope to residents like me who can dream about a future with drivable roads and uninterrupted power supply.

Featured image by John Fornander on Unsplash.

Overpopulation Myth: Control Quotas for Foreign Aid

Population Control Quotas and Aid Denial

Recent Statistics and Mass Sterilization Clinic in India (most are not this nice)

The overpopulation myth that was started by Thomas Malthus in the eighteenth century was and is still promoted by powerful advocates and organizations to the present day. Although overpopulation was not true then and is not true today, it has been used to justify inhumane treatment of people in poor nations in the form of quotas on forced sterilizations and other involuntary population control measures as a condition for receiving foreign aid, including needed food aid during famines. In reality, it should be called elimination of the poor, since only the poor are targeted. Poverty, not overpopulation, is the problem, and that can be remedied by education, investment and job opportunities along with disease control, proper medical care, electricity and roads.

Here are a few important quotes from some of the promoters of this anti-human population control ideology.

In The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich said,

“A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people … we must shift our efforts from the treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions.”[1]

In a New York Times article, Ehrlich is quoted as saying “. . . A possibility that the government might have to put sterility drugs in reservoirs and in food shipped to foreign countries to limit human multiplication.” was envisioned today by a leading crusader on the population problem.[2]

Maurice Strong, founder and first director of UN Environment Programme (UNEP), co-founder of WWF, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm (1972), the Rio Sustainable Development Summit (1992) and ex World Bank advisor, is quoted as saying, “Licenses to have babies incidentally is something that got in trouble some years ago for suggesting even in Canada that this might be necessary at some point, at least some restriction on the right to have a child.”[3]

He also said “Frankly, we may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse. Isn’t it our responsibility to bring it about?”[4]

Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, is quoted as saying “In the event that I am reborn, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.“[5]

Jacques Cousteau is quoted as saying, “World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day.”[6]

POPULATION CONTROL IN INDIA

Total fertility Rate:1970 5.5
Total fertilityRate:2015 2.5
Population growth rate 1.2%
Women sterilized: total 30%
Women sterilized: married 37%
Women sterilized: unmarried, sexually active 48%
Women sterilized: informed about other contraceptive methods 28%
Women sterilized: informed procedure was permanent 66%
Men sterilized 1%
Sex-ratio at birth (males: females) 112:100

Source: Data compiled from the UN Population Division and the Demographic and Health Survey. Population Research Institute at www.pop.org 

Sterilization Camp in India

 

 

 

 

[1] Paul Ehrlich, 1968

[2] Gladwin Hillspecial, “A Sterility Drug In Food Is Hinted; Biologist Stresses Need To Curb Population Growth,” New York Times, November 24, 1969, https://www.nytimes.com/1969/11/25/archives/a-sterility-drug-in-food-is-hinted-biologist-stresses-need-to-curb.html. See also Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment (New York: W.H. Freeman & Co, 1977).

[3] Maurice Strong, occasion uncertain, but widely quoted.

[4] Maurice Strong, in opening remarks, UN Sustainable Development Summit, Rio de Janeiro, 1992.

[5] Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh of England, 1988, from Cawthorne, Nigel, 2015, I know I am rude, but it’s Fun: The Royal Family and the World at Large – as Seen by Prince Philip

[6] Cousteau, Jacques, “Interview with Jacques-Yves Cousteau,” The UNESCO Courier, November 1991, 13.