The ideas we have about our government systems have been dramatically shaped by the energy sources that power them. If the physical characteristics of coal and oil have developed the expectations of our 20th century politics, how they also invent ‘the economy’? Will it be possible to sabotage a system that has an entirely different energy profile than the one that gave birth to organized labor?
In Extraenvironmentalist #69 we speak with Timothy Mitchell about our political systems and his book Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. We discuss the ways coal and oil have transformed collective labor demands, revolutionized our money systems and contributed to our global conflicts. Then, Richard Heinberg updates us on the shale oil bubble and the implications of peak oil as we discuss Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future. Richard reflects on the timing of peak oil predictions and what the may indicate for the upcoming decade.