projects of funds. Within eastern Europe, poorly endowed with fuels
other than coal, but possessed of excellent industrial potential, dependence upon the Soviet Union for oil and gas intensified. The Soviets
benefited from the OPEC windfall but shared little of this manna with
its satellites. GDR, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland were trapped
like mammoths in a tar pit, their agricultural and industrial sectors
suffocated by institutional rigidity and by decades of Communist
mismanagement. Brazil and India were caught in an economic-demographic snare
that appeared inescapable. Soaring energy costs battered their fragile
economies. But far more deadly was the population explosion. Energy
at the cheapest price could bring little succor to societies containing
so many millions of impoverished and landless people. Aid from the
West and OPEC funded projects that offered few tangible benefits to
the many. For Tanzanians and most sub-Saharan Africans, the price of
commercial energy was irrelevant. Eroded land, encroaching desert,
deforestation, and malnutrition were the pertinent facts of life. Africa,
self-sufficient in food in 1960, imported just under one-half its needs in 1980.The unprecedented revenues of the oil exporting LDCs did not
magically transform their economies. Nigeria and Indonesia remained
encumbered with layers of intractable difficulties. Self-sustained economic growth proved difficult to induce in Mexico, however much money
was available. Mexico in 1980 was in worse condition than in 1970. A
few producers, mostly Arab Gulf states, appeared to register solid
economic improvement. But, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait remained tightly
bound to oil and to western markets; their high average standard of
living masked severe internal inequities and tensions.Development could not be bought, simply, like a refinery, steel
mill, or hydroelectric dam. It required a balanced approach, one that
emphasized agriculture and rural employment as well as large scale
industry and urban growth. A reformed energy mix and more appropriate energy technologies could contribute strongly. This might mean,
at least in the short-term, greater but more efficient use of wood fuel in
tandem with the application of such small energy devices as well-
engineered coal stoves and water purification equipment rather than
giant technologies. But, most of all, population must be brought into
balance with available resources.
|1. ||For the above two paragraphs: World Resources Institute, World Resources 1987, New York: Basic Books ( 1987), pp. 260-1; J. Goldemberg,|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Political Economy of World Energy:A Twentieth-Century Perspective.
Contributors: John G. Clark - Author.
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press.
Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC.
Publication year: 1991.
Page number: 311.
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