Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming
How capitalism first promoted fossil fuels with the rise of steam power.
The more we know about the catastrophic implications of climate change, the more fossil fuels we burn. How did we end up in this mess?
In this masterful new history, Andreas Malm claims it all began in Britain with the rise of steam power. But why did manufacturers turn from traditional sources of p...more
Malm’s main thesis is that to understand climate change we must go back to its roots. Specifically, the adoption of steam power during the British industrial revolution. Having not ...more
[Through my ratings, reviews and edits I'm providing intellectual property and labor to Amazon.com Inc., listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns Goodreads.com and in 2014 posted revenues for $90 billion and a $271 million loss. Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Amazon.com Inc. is also requested to provide assurance that its employees and contractors' work conditions meet the highest health and safety standards at all the company's sites].
The best par ...more
It describes matters such as: The relationship of labor to law; The constraints of locality on non steam power; The value of an industrious and disposable worker; Certain idiosyncrasies such as that of a drought.
I'm rating the first half of this book, which is excellent; around the middle, it transitions from a specific ...more
The frightening concept of what it is doing to the atmosphere, plants, animals & humans.
Lots of facts, charts, references.
Inventions my forte. History, PS, were many of my undergrad studies, economics was not exactly my cup of tea, but now I understand it a whole lot better.
I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & au ...more
Chapters 2-10 make a fascinating critique of the standard economic history of the adoption of steam power. The orthodoxy says that steam power from burning coal was adopted because wages were high and coal was cheap. Malm blows this theory out of the water by showing, first, that the greatest expansion of steam power happened at a time of low wages and unemployment (but also strikes) during the 1820s and 30s, and, ...more
Malm is an excellent writer, even for a Marxist! ; ) His primary source material provide fascina ...more
Malm traces the history of the transition from the organic economy (E.A. Wrigley) rooted in the land and utilizing animal (including human) bodies to ultimately the transition to a fossil economy which operates outside the temporospatial in an inversion of the real (Jensen and McBay). He traces from late to early 19th century Britain to the development of the water wheel and its transition to the steam engine, how s ...more
Malm analyzes a wealth of facts and details in the historical record, reexamines economic theory in that light, and demonstrates persuasively that ever-increasing use of fossil fuels is a necessary consequence of capitalism (itself not an inherently inevitable and natural economic system but a historically contingent one).
Everyone should want to properly understand why our industrial society has necessarily spewed so much planet-warming ca ...more