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The Free Range Virtual Library:

Money and Energy

The Post Carbon Reader Series, 05/11/2011


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Resource information:
Resource IDdouthwaite2010
Resource titleMoney and Energy
Author(s)Richard Douthwaite
Publication/ sourceThe Post Carbon Reader Series
Date published05/11/2011
Summary text/ abstractMoney and energy have always been linked. For example, a gold currency was essentially an energy currency because the amount of gold produced in a year was determined by the cost of the energy it took to extract it. If energy (perhaps in the form of slaves or horses rather than fossil fuel) was cheap and abundant, gold mining would prove profitable, and a lot of gold would go into circulation enabling more trading to be done. If the increased level of activity then drove the price of slaves or coal up, the flow of gold would decline, slowing the rate at which the economy grew. It was a neat, natural balancing mechanism which worked rather well. In fact, the only time it broke down seriously was when the Spanish conquistadors got gold for very little energy – by stealing it from the Aztecs and the Incas. That caused a massive inflation and damaged the Spanish economy for many years.
Library categoriesEconomics, 'Limits to Growth', Peak Oil, Simplicity
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