The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude

Hardcover | August 17, 2012

byAndrew Nikiforuk

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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 paperback.

Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.

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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...

Andrew Nikiforuk is a leading investigative journalist and author of the critically acclaimed Empire of the Beetle and the bestseller Tar Sands, which won the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award. His book Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War against Oil was the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.

other books by Andrew Nikiforuk

Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent
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Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North Americas Great Forests
Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Ar...

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Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwigs War against Big Oil
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see all books by Andrew Nikiforuk
Format:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:August 17, 2012Publisher:Greystone Books Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1553659783

ISBN - 13:9781553659785

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