The average middle class American family lives in a modest house or apartment, and owns a car or two, along with various modern amenities to make life a bit easier -- refrigerator, dishwasher, heating and cooling units, etc. And we are lectured ad nauseum by our social and economic "betters" -- a class whose prosperity depends on our productivity -- about our overreliance on these conveniences, which we've worked hard to build and to pay for. We've already been forced to curtail our few small pleasures in life, like occasionally dining out, because inflation -- caused in large part by the elite obsession with “climate change” -- has forced us to tighten our belts.
Meanwhile our elites tend to have multiple large homes that must be heated and cooled, luxury cars (yes, Teslas count), perhaps multiple refrigerators, massive use of electronics and digital technology, servants, and either own or have ready access to a private jet, a yacht, etc. Their loudly proclaimed devotion to Mother Gaia, and even their multiple (often carbon intensive) devotional practices, never seem to get in the way of their worldly pleasures.
Better living through penury.
How bad is this disconnect? To find out, let's see how many kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity are produced in three major nations per dollar of GDP output. Based on the Cantrill Ladder, a measurement system for quantifying life satisfaction, how satisfied do the people in these countries say they are?
In America, to create and maintain our lifestyles, we generate 4,152 TWh (Tera-Watt-hours; billions of kWh) of electricity and produce $20.49 trillion of goods & services (GDP), using 0.203 kWh to produce $1.00 of GDP, a kWh per dollar of GDP ratio of 0.203. Americans rank themselves at 6.89 on the Cantrill ladder (on a scale of 0-10; higher is better).
China, a nation our elites ignore in their climate plans, generates 8,484 TWh of electricity and produces $1.34 trillion of GDP, using over three times as much electricity and generating three times as much CO2 as America to produce $1.00 of GDP, a kWh per dollar of GDP ratio of 0.633. China reports a Cantrill satisfaction of 5.82.
In Nigeria, the most prosperous sub-Saharan African country, generates 31 TWh of electricity and produces $580 billion of GDP, using one-fourth of the electricity of America to produce $1.00 of GDP, a kWh per dollar of GDP ratio of 0.053. Nigeria’s residents report a “happiness and life satisfaction” metric of 4.98. It's not a surprise, but modernity -- and electricity -- makes people happier.
If we measure prosperity in kWh per dollar of GDP, America has a prosperity metric of 0.203, China of 0.633, and Nigeria of 0.053. Having the lowest living standard of the compared nations, Nigeria uses the least amount of electricity to produce $1.00 of goods. More readily available electricity would over time lead to the increase of their GDP, wages, education, infrastructure development, and standard of living.
And yet, western elites are actively trying to prevent Africa from modernizing. This modernity-for-me-and-not-for-thee looks suspiciously like the elite caricature of “colonialism,” which they themselves proclaim to be the root of all modern evils.
It is shocking, until you remember that they would happily see us living in squalor as well. Because ultimately their power and self-gratification is all they care about.