May 04, 2008

Sustainable development

Finally something reasonable in sustainable development: Lighting The Way In India

Notice from the article that it took:
- a local engineer with both education and a vision;
- a credit infrastructure (microcredit?);
- labour force with some prior skills (the TV repairmen)
to succeed in this project.

The article doesn't mention it but two other requirements which are not present in parts of Africa or Asia where you don't hear this kind of stories: the ability to transport safely goods (without having to bribe everyone along the way to ensure the goods arrive at their destination) and an amount of legal security (if the governor's friend sells diesel generators, he won't be able to make up a new tax which ruins the chances of selling solar panels).

Now the question is whether this a priori sustainable contribution to the Indians' well-being will not cause them to be consumers of non-sustainable goods and services... I'm actually sure it will but would I be entitled to deny them the well-being, I who fly thousands of miles every year and enjoy a comfortable, modern life?

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