Editorial - Poverty and fuel choice

Energy governance in much of the developing world works like this: Hopeless people surviving in crowded squalor organize themselves enough to demand relief from a remote government. Fearful of mass disquiet, officials string electrical wires through slums so inhabitants can have light and, if they're fortunate, television. Afterward, the poor remain poor and the government, self-serving. At the margins of human existence, conditions nevertheless have improved. The poor spend evenings watching television rather than protesting in the streets.Against the harsh metrics of poverty, such as hunger and infant mortality, how much can it matter—beyond relative cost—whether electri...

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