Some Thoughts

Solar for Developmental Planning

I read this story about Baghdad installing solar panels for streetlamps.

I’m a little skeptical. Are there materials that people would want to strip these devices for? How durable would they be? And, well, do they actually work?

But I think it shows the potential of solar power. In the same way that cellphone networks have succeeded in areas with no infrastructure, solar paneling will be a quick way to leapfrog the energy infrastructure. It’s interesting that solar power, which no company can really control the usage of, will defeat a natural monopoly in a lot of energy-dependent areas. That’s an ultimate effect we can’t even guarantee for the Internet anymore!

The problems are: the technology isn’t efficient enough, costs are still prohibitive, and you can’t secure solar paneling in the same way that you can a cell tower.


It really does feel in the US, at least at a national level, that you’re on your own. If you have money, you’ll be able to get good health coverage, get yourself out of tight squeezes, pay for the rising costs of food and rent. If you don’t have money, you’re completely screwed, and not only that, your children will be even more screwed.

The infrastructure is weakening, social safety nets are disintegrating, and all this after the cultural networks have been torn apart by suburban lifestyle and high mobility. Where we’re left is alone, living life precariously above a pit of uncertainty.

Only way to survive in the US now is to make lots of money. Very Machiavellian.