- Title: Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming
- Author: Andreas Malm
- ISBN: 9781784781293
- Page: 472
- Format: Paperback
How capitalism first promoted fossil fuels with the rise of steam powerThe we know about the catastrophic implications of climate change, the 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 powerHow capitalism first promoted fossil fuels with the rise of steam powerThe we know about the catastrophic implications of climate change, the 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 power, notably water mills, to an engine fired by coal Contrary to established views, steam offered neither cheaper nor abundant energy but rather superior control of subordinate labour Animated by fossil fuels, capital could concentrate production at the most profitable sites and during the most convenient hours, as it continues to do today Sweeping from nineteenth century Manchester to the emissions explosion in China, from the original triumph of coal to the stalled shift to renewables, this study hones in on the burning heart of capital and demonstrates, in unprecedented depth, that turning down the heat will mean a radical overthrow of the current economic order.
Recent Comments "Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming"
I am entirely satisfied with having spent my birthday book token on ‘Fossil Capital’. It’ll most likely be one of the top five books I read in 2016. I have taken my time over it, both because I found it so thought-provoking and also because, in a spirit of laziness, I knew it would require a long and thorough review. 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. Hav [...]
Caution: fossil history trap[Through my ratings, reviews and edits I'm providing intellectual property and labor to Inc listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns and in 2014 posted revenues for $90 billion and a $271 million loss. 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 safety standards at all the company's sites].The best parts of this book are two interventions [...]
The core of this book is a detailed focus on the economics of the shift from water to steam, which is surprisingly interesting. There is some decent analysis of a few modern situations. Most of the rest was aggressively ideological in a way that struck me as so divorced from reality that I'm not quite sure how to react.
A fabulous look at the capitalist approach to fossil fuel, steam/wind & other alternatives fuels.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 pub [...]
A masterpiece of historical analysis that blends analysis on energy, environmental science, technology, automation, political economy, and labor organizing. The result is a fascinating (and surprisingly entertaining) blow-by-blow account of the rise of steam power in industrializing Britain in the mid-1800s and its class dynamics, and the implications for society's current predicament with climate change.The book is a thoroughly academic text, and draws on lots of literature reviews as well as p [...]
Reviewed by LRB
It takes work to make your way through this text, but the rewards are incredible.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 [...]
This should be a crucial read for every climate organizer. It's dense political economy/history at times, but still manages to tell a compelling story about the transition from water-power to steam-power and how it laid the foundation for the current economic and political system we live under. Also makes one of the most compelling arguments I've read for centralized grid infrastructure and a global minimum wage as key demands for climate action.
It seemed like two books. The first was a really detailed breakdown of when, why and how the steam engine overtook the water wheel. The second book was about global warming and capitalism in the modern era. There are lots of interesting ideas and facts, but he just goes into way too much detail for this to be interesting. I had to skim a lot of it to make it to the end.
1st half very good, 2nd half quite terrible.
Andreas Malm has written a truly impressive book that readers of all stripes will find engaging, persuasive and (hopefully) important. Malm has a magisterial grasp of the origins of our fossil fuel use in the production of commodities (which is really the main contributor to the problem we're in) as well as of the modern day situation and the political economic concepts which unequivocally demonstrate the links between the two. The book is essentially a 250 page history of the rise of steam and [...]
ProfoundAn essential work. Destroys the argument that we are collectively responsible for climate change and situates the rise of the fossil economy in exploitative labour relations.
This is the most important book I've read in a long time. It's clear, readable, and utterly compelling. On the opening page, Malm quotes English scientist Charles Babbage warning of the possible consequences of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere 1835!
Describes the competition between water and steam power in the early 19th century in Britain. Steam won, not because of cost or efficiency, but because it allowed greater control of workers. The rise of steam lead to the 1840s chartist movement and the first general strike in 1842 which involved over 500,000 workers, shutting down all manufacturing in Britain for 2 weeks. Capitalist control was only restored with military force. Covers the modern movement of manufacturing, and carbon dioxide emi [...]
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