The Energy of Slaves - Oil and the New Servitude © 2012
By Andrew Nikiforuk (Canadian) – Non-Fiction
‘Earth’s new Master is an urban beast and its slaves are the world’s resources.’ Andrew Nikiforuk
We are brought along into facts, figures & unconventional ways of looking at how the egress of oil has forever altered humanity’s path.
For example; how could we maintain today’s standard of living without use of our precious utility of oil and its easily harnessed horsepower?
Up until a few centuries ago, brute manpower was basically the engine powering up civilization. This energy was essentially the driving as well as limiting factor determining the pace of progress. Great ideas like the wheel or the horse & plow were really very few and far between. In answer to the former question, one would need over 700 human slaves each to maintain our current typical lifestyle.
As Andrew points out, ‘Ancient civilizations routinely relied on shackled human muscle. Slaveholders viewed critics as hostilely as oil companies now regard environmentalists. Yet when the abolitionist movement finally triumphed in the 1850’s, it had two invisible allies: coal & oil.’
Unfortunately about 2/3rds of the way through, this book begins to veer a hard left from the interesting tidbits on oil muscle, ancient equivalents and other interesting associated topics. The author gently morphs his focus into the single exhausted argument of the ‘little guy against big oil’ themes.
As controversial and worthy of note that topic may well be, we have a myriad of books on that subject already. I was thoroughly enjoying my history lesson up until then. It cost him a star on the rating chart…sorry pal.
By John Archibald, November 2012