The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude

by Andrew Nikiforuk

GREYSTONE BOOKS LTD | March 17, 2014 | Trade Paperback |

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A radical analysis of our master-and-slave relationship to energy and a call for change.

Ancient civilizations routinely relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. In the early nineteenth century, the slave trade became one of the most profitable enterprises on the planet, and slaveholders viewed religious critics as hostilely as oil companies now regard environmentalists. Yet when the abolition movement finally triumphed in the 1850s, it had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world''s most portable and versatile workers, fossil fuels dramatically replenished slavery''s ranks with combustion engines and other labour-saving tools. Since then, oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, gender, and even our concept of happiness. But as Andrew Nikiforuk argues in this provocative new book, we still behave like slaveholders in the way we use energy, and that urgently needs to change.

Many North Americans and Europeans today enjoy lifestyles as extravagant as those of Caribbean plantation owners. Like slaveholders, we feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion, and now that half of the world''s oil has been burned, our energy slaves are becoming more expensive by the day. What we need, Nikiforuk argues, is a radical new emancipation movement. Also available in hardcover.

Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 296 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.39 in

Published: March 17, 2014

Publisher: GREYSTONE BOOKS LTD

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1771640103

ISBN - 13: 9781771640107

Found in: Social and Cultural Studies

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The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude

The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude

by Andrew Nikiforuk

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 296 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.39 in

Published: March 17, 2014

Publisher: GREYSTONE BOOKS LTD

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1771640103

ISBN - 13: 9781771640107

From the Publisher

A radical analysis of our master-and-slave relationship to energy and a call for change.

Ancient civilizations routinely relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. In the early nineteenth century, the slave trade became one of the most profitable enterprises on the planet, and slaveholders viewed religious critics as hostilely as oil companies now regard environmentalists. Yet when the abolition movement finally triumphed in the 1850s, it had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world''s most portable and versatile workers, fossil fuels dramatically replenished slavery''s ranks with combustion engines and other labour-saving tools. Since then, oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, gender, and even our concept of happiness. But as Andrew Nikiforuk argues in this provocative new book, we still behave like slaveholders in the way we use energy, and that urgently needs to change.

Many North Americans and Europeans today enjoy lifestyles as extravagant as those of Caribbean plantation owners. Like slaveholders, we feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion, and now that half of the world''s oil has been burned, our energy slaves are becoming more expensive by the day. What we need, Nikiforuk argues, is a radical new emancipation movement. Also available in hardcover.

Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.

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