Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil
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Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  91 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Oil is a curse, it is often said, that condemns the countries producing it to an existence defined by war, corruption and enormous inequality. Carbon Democracy tells a more complex story, arguing that no nation escapes the political consequences of our collective dependence on oil. It shapes the body politic both in regions such as the Middle East, which rely upon revenues...more
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published November 7th 2011 by Verso (first published January 1st 2011)
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This book is well worth reading, though I still question the amount of emphasis placed on energy as *the* basis of democracy/capitalism. Mitchell nevertheless makes a strong argument for the influence of oil companies and associated representational-disciplinary entities on destruction of labor and creation of a "limitless resource" economic representation while at the same time limiting production of oil so as to retain profits. Mitchell is a Foucauldian complement to David Harvey's Marxism, in...more
If only I could have read this book 40 years ago! This is certainly one of the best books I've read on history, economics, ecology or politics.

Forty years ago when I was a student of the philosophy of economics, I was stymied. I could not find any solid foundation for economics, and the Sioux medicine man Lame Deer seemed to have it right in summarizing the "green frog-skin world" of the American dollar as an illusion. But this illusion clearly had immense power over the whole world, and I thoug...more
Jun 08, 2014 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: energy
The Middle East unveils the true nature of capitalism, but falls short of democracy

[Through my ratings, reviews and edits I'm providing intellectual property and labor to Inc., listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns and in 2013 posted revenues for $74 billion and $274 million profits. Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Inc. is also requested to provide assurance that its employees and contractors' work conditions meet the highest health and saf...more
Mitchell seeks to show how the actual physical infrastructure of oil - the coal mines in the 19th and early 20th centuries; oil pumps, pipes and ships, influenced the development of modern democracy and capitalism. Although a lot of his argument focuses on oil in the Middle East, I think his argument is strongest in its first portion, where he shows how the methods of coal mining in England - with independent teams of miners working in pairs hauling coal to a rail infrastructure with just a few...more
really compelling, especially the early chapters that examine how oil became more politically useful than coal. the manufacturing of the energy crisis was also meticulously examined. the conclusion and afterword were strangely soft and left me wanting more. nonetheless, this book will become a standard for geographers and anyone interested in oil, energy, and the infrastructure of capitalist politics.
Presents a very well-made argument for considering the emergence of hydrocarbon fuel sources and the fight for control of those resources as central to the rise of the urbanization, the modern welfare state, the political violence of the 20th century, and the contemporary globalized market economy.
A nice undoing of the heroes and villains of the Middle East, and what the oil exploration in fact was in its dynamics of production, yet difficult in its agentic materialism.
Get ready to be challenged!

Instead of thinking of democracy as a process that can basically be carbon copied from the Global North to the developing world, it might be interesting to think of the genesis of democracy from the hydrocarbons.

Sara Drotzer
I honestly hated this book. Mitchell had some great points, but they were so bogged down by a disjointed history that I was lost trying to follow.
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Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures

Columbia University

612 Kent Hall, Mail Code 3928
1140 Amsterdam Ave.

New York, NY 10027

Tel: 212-854 5252

Timothy Mitchell is a political theorist who studies the political economy of the Middle East, the political role of economics and other forms of expert knowledge, the politics of large-scale technical sy...more
More about Timothy Mitchell...
استعمار مصر Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity دراستان حول التراث والحداثة Questions Of Modernity الديموقراطية والدولة فى العالم العربي

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