[Epub] ↠ Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil Autore Timothy Mitchell – Vehikool.co.uk

Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil The title for this book is misleading The theme of this book is indeed the history of oil and its development But in doing so, Mitchell chronicles the social, political, and economic development of mankind from the Industrial Revolution to the 21st century, and with that defines the social and economic fabric of the present Reading this book gives a new meaning to the phrase, we did it for the oil, and demonstrates that the foreign policies of the U.S and much of the Western world is, and has been, all about the oil This book is a must read for anyone, as it provides a framework from which we can look at the flawed and short sighted policies of our governments and the disastrous impacts that they have on people all around the world today and at home. Carbon Democracy by Timothy Mitchell, a Middle East scholar at Columbia University, is the most thoughtful, yet radical, account I have seen of how the oil industry organized itself and the economy and politics of the world throughout the Twentieth Century He concludes with concerns about why this powerful structure is unable to cope with the twin problems of peak oil and climate change in the Twenty First I strongly recommend it.Two preliminary notes First, the 2013 paperback edition includes a valuable afterword that is not in the Hardbound or ebook versions of the text Second, the author gave an interesting talk in early 2012 at George Washington University about his ideas that can be found online, for people who want a preview of the book.The book presents a new version of the oil story He starts with coal, and a critical problem it had, in that it was highly vulnerable to disruption by labor actions Oil was attractive from the beginning including Churchill s decision to replace coal with oil in the British Navy because it was easily controlled from above and less threatened from below The challenge for oil was that the demand was less elastic than supply at any particular time, so the oil companies eventually including OPEC had to figure out how to control everything to prevent overproduction and downward price pressures.The companies worked well together, and took extreme measures to keep control In 1900 half the world s oil production was in Baku, so the Brits acquired the rights to oil control and transit in Persia mostly to prevent a Russian pipeline to the Persian Gulf Around 1915 the British Navy was trying to acquire oil from Mexico, then the third largest oil producing company and a part of the world claimed by the Rockefeller interests, which protected itself by funding the overthrow of the government Ibn Saud s campaign to consolidate power and unify the Arabian Peninsula was financed by Standard of California now Chevron , which also stopped him when he was moving too far north toward Jordan and Palestine The companies agreed in the 1930s to manage production to support the high US price set by the Texas Railroad Commission The book is full of such stories.The demand side was also carefully managed After World War II, Defense Secretary Forrestal recognized the need to construct an American lifestyle that required lots of energy consumption, to support the oil industry At the same time, scarce Marshall Plan steel was sent to construct the Trans Arabian Pipeline to help promote the use of oil instead of coal in the new European economy.Mitchell argues that the economy was a creation of the abundance of cheap oil While economics had focused on the allocation of scarce resources, the expansion of oil supplies and other natural resources created an expectation and need for endless economic growth that could be managed centrally Money, not stuff, became the subject, and mathematics, not organic factors, became the method of analysis Making Gross National Product now GDP the sole measure of prosperity changed politics and redefined what could and could not be discussed in the public sphere.One recurring theme in the book was the abuse of Iraq From the earliest negotiations with the Ottoman Empire to dealing with Saddam Hussein, efforts to limit production of oil from Iraq have never ended Work on the Berlin to Baghdad railway was dragged out at a pace just fast enough to keep the British oil concession alive without actually doing anything The Iraqi Petroleum Company was run and managed by BP, with no Iraqi ownership, and BP failed to tell the locals for two decades that they had discovered the Rumaila oil field, the world s second largest, because they didn t want it developed By the time Saddam was in power, he resisted the rules of the global oil cartel, so he was subject to three major wars Iran Iraq and two Gulf Wars that prevented an orderly expansion of the Iraqi oil industry for over three decades Iraq s oil exports have finally reached the level they had in 1979, 35 years ago Similarly, when the elected government of Iran tried to take control of its own oil, the US and the UK had it overthrown in 1953 and set up the Shah instead In this sense, Carbon Democracy is an ironic title, since the oil industry and the governments it worked with rarely tolerated popular governments that could threaten the game.The book concludes with the recent and ongoing transition to a period of high priced oil and production that can no longer increase to support a growing global economy, while climate changes represent a cost of fuel use that is now coming due Neither the oil industry nor governments know how to deal with these challenges The shale fracking boom makes much sense to Wall Street than to the profits of the oil industry.Mitchell s narrative is vastly different from the common approach taken by Daniel Yergin and others The story of oil is not about the brave and innovative men to found this wondrous substance, but of the efforts to sabotage and limit production growth while never allowing the public to understand what was happening This is an innovative and unsettling book. Once you slog through the intricate history of coal and oil, as it relates to politics, you will find a rewarding set of conclusions about how democratic politics depends on fossil fuels This book offers a highly insightful way of looking at climate change. Very likely essential reading if you care about the quality of future life on our planet If you are at all interested in energy and our dependence on oil, read this book, much sooner than later The strategy of the oil industry is deconstructed as one designed to sabotage by implication significant reductions of demand and also especially to limit the available supply so as to keep the price up Thus the implication is that Iraq was invaded not so much to gain access to their oil, as to take that oil at least for a while, off the market. I was very pleased with this book The author gives a very interesting twist to the story of fossil fuels, noting how the centrality and difficulty of coal production helped give unions greater power, while oil production led to a dispersed energy system, with less power for labor An excellent overview of a critical part of our economy and speaking of which, he also does a good job of analyzing the rise of neoclassical economics in the context of a rapidly emerging oil industry. Does Oil Wealth Lead To Political Poverty It Often Looks That Way, But Carbon Democracy Tells A Complex Story In This Magisterial Study, Timothy Mitchell Rethinks The History Of Energy, Bringing Into His Grasp As He Does So Environmental Politics, The Struggle For Democracy, And The Place Of The Middle East In The Modern World With The Rise Of Coal Power, The Producers Who Oversaw Its Production Acquired The Ability To Shut Down Energy Systems, A Threat They Used To Build The First Mass Democracies Oil Offered The West An Alternative, And With It Came A New Form Of Politics Oil Created A Denatured Political Life Whose Central Object The Economy Appeared Capable Of Infinite Growth What Followed Was A Western Democracy Dependent On An Undemocratic Middle East We Now Live With The Consequences An Impoverished Political Practice, Incapable Of Addressing The Crises That Threaten To End The Age Of Carbon Democracy Namely, The Disappearance Of Cheap Energy And The Carbon Fueled Collapse Of The Ecological Order

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