The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Energy Slaves

I just finished Crime & Punishment yesterday, which I somehow managed to miss during high school literature classes. There are many great insights about the human condition, but one that struck me in relation to peak oil is:

"We've grown used to having everything ready-made, to walking on crutches, to having our food chewed for us. Then the great hour struck* and every man showed his true colors"
*Emancipation of the Serfs (1861)

Until relatively recently (200-300 years ago) society relied heavily on human labor (much of it forced labor). We don't think about it, but our everyday energy consumption relies on the equivalent of thousands of hours of human labor. Colin Campbell has a term for this: Energy Slaves.

Something to think about. How many energy slaves do you have?

3 Comments:

At 5:23 PM, Blogger FatherofFour said...

I think about this all of the time since learning about our coming energy crisis. It seem there is very little I have or do that doesn't rely on the equivalent of 10, 20, 100 energy slaves.

I wonder what I'll do when my energy slaves stop showing up for work.

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger peakguy said...

The other issue is that falling back on animal labor (horses, cattle, etc) means diverting food from humans to animals in the context of falling argicultural productivity

 
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