Venezuela, Again

If you’re reading this then chances are you’re sitting in front of a computer screen or staring at a small screen of a cellular. In either case, both these electronic marvels enable humans to share information and knowledge nearly instantly. And some would say to the benefit for all.

But the computer and the cellular’s utility results from an extensive power distribution system. A system that gets power from many ways, converts it to electricity then enables the end-user to apply the power as they want.

Across most of the world people have been conditioned to accept the provisioning of electricity. Many places even institute a legal requirement for landlords to continue providing electricity no matter what the renter does. This reinforces the conditioning.

But what if the provisioning fails? As occurred recently in Venezuela. Venezuela is a country graced with an abundance of power supplies. Hydroelectric sources provide about 117TWh. It also has the largest proven crude oil reserves at 301 billion barrels. Yet the country’s power supply failed with 19 of 23 states in blackout conditions including Caracas, the capital. With the absence of power, information doesn’t flow. Nor do refrigerators keep perishables cool or hospital lights guide doctors. Venezuela includes 30 million people who may have to resort to a hunter-gatherer status given the failure of providing electricity. But can they survive given their conditioned dependence upon electricity.

And what about the rest of us? Can we survive without the marvels of this electronic age? Will we keep growing in intelligence in wisdom even without ready power? And is Venezuela a reckoning of things to come?