I’m not a big fan of giving anybody anything. As far as food goes, I was suggesting that the truly destitute, or the temporarily down-on-their-luck, could engage with an alternative economy in which food producers have the economic and physical tools to route surpluses (there are always surpluses) to those who desperately need food; the consumers would “pay” for it via some form of social currency (i.e., by contributing to society whatever they are able to contribute - very few people can contribute nothing). This would be a pretty simple project that could be undertaken without unintended repercussions (unlike UBI).
Not much point giving coal-fired power stations to poor people, IMO, unless you also gift them with:
- People who will conscientiously operate and maintain the power stations
- Geologists, engineers, etc who know how to build coal mines
- People who are prepared to risk their lives working in coal mines
- A national road infrastructure rated for 10-wheelers, to get coal to the power stations
- Vehicles to run on those roads, and people who can drive them safely
- A national grid (which may not even be technically possible given their geographic constraints, or may be inordinately expensive)
- Energy-storage systems such as pumped hydro
- Ongoing subsidies to make coal-fired power generation cheaper than solar and wind
- Etc etc etc.
One should be clear-eyed about what one’s goals are when proposing power stations for poor people. Is it to empower the coal-controlling oligarchy? Is it to ensure that they are forever trapped in a fossil-fuel economy, thereby keeping them in a developmental cul-de-sac? These are plausible national goals for rich countries that want to stay at the top of the pile. But there are, I’m afraid, very few good and noble reasons for helping poor countries acquire white elephants.