An educated democratic population can gain considerable freedom from the corporate/banking/consumer world by making your own goods.
A particularly satisfying example is LED light. Being designed to create a photon from one electron crossing the p-n junction (electro-luminsecence), the potential efficiency is far better than previous lights. The development of LEDs is ongoing, so quotes of efficiency will soon be obsolete.
White light is most efficiently made by using red, blue and green, or red and yellow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode#Efficiency_and_operational_parameters). Currently 5 m.m. LEDs can be bought for little more than 1 pence each, and the home DIYer has the opportunity to experiment with making their own lights.
Traditionally, the LED current is controlled with a resistor, which wastes energy; using a low power supply - 3 or 4.5 volts DC (2 or 3 AA batteries) it is possible to power many LEDs in parallel without needing a resistor.
LED lights wiring tutorial
make a super bright LED light panel
My home made LED lights use rechargeable AA batteries which are charged from daylight using one photovoltaic panel that I've had for 30 years!
I might buy a new one soon ... If you really enjoy lighting, a basic timer integrated circuit costs about 50pence!
related: banking, DIY, electronics, institutional mind, LED, photos, physics