Electric light must surely rank as one of the most beneficial technological achievements of our species. The tragedy is that too many still do not share in that achievement. But they can and they will if we apply our human ingenuity, passion and ambition to the task. As the poet Frederick Turner (whom I've quoted before) puts it:
In economics, we are recognizing the exponential power of markets to generate wealth. Now that we have a global economy, the wealth of the average individual person on this planet doubles every twenty years or so, and our average life-expectancy is now doubling every century. ... The world is not a zero-sum game, but rather a great cascade of gifts; if we lack for anything it is because of a lack of knowledge, not an unavailability of goods. Our problems are those of cash flow, scheduling, bottlenecks and distribution, so to speak, not of the basic health of the balance sheet. We are threatened not by scarcity but glut. If we did not get in each others’ way by bad and over-controlling governments and ideas, we would all be rich.Sure we're in a recession. But guess what? It will end - just like they all do. And the glories that we have achieved as one of our planet's most delightful species will still be there, ultimately available to every human being. Let the stories our ancestors told one another in the dark continue to unfold. So Just leave the lights on.
And celebrate Human Achievement Hour instead: