You say you want a Revolution

The contrived worldwide blackout featured in the new American television series Revolution (trailer) almost begs to be contrasted with the immense blackout that actually occurred in India last week. As in most disaster porn, the effects of the fictional blackout will be immediate and uniform. Everyone will suffer and strive in a very different world.

In many countries, however, blackouts occur regularly, and increasingly often, and the effects vary greatly. As described in The New Yorker:

… it was the scale of the power outage that was new—not the idea of a power outage. Losing electricity for a day or two every week or a for few hours every other day is so much a part of living in India that there is a dedicated word for the phenomenon: “load-shedding.” Load-shedding works by rotating the power outage from one part of the city to other.

In India and Pakistan, the wealthy fall back on diesel generators or inverters, while the most poor have yet to access the grid. People in the middle classes grimly do without until the power comes back. Utility officials make excuses, while politicians blame others and make promises.

I suspect our real future will look more like India than Revolution.


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