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Power to the PeopleEnergy in Europe over the Last Five Centuries$
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Astrid Kander, Paolo Malanima, and Paul Warde

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691143620

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691143620.001.0001

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Summary and Implications For the Future

Summary and Implications For the Future

(p.366) Chapter eleven Summary and Implications For the Future
Power to the People

Malanima Paolo

Astrid Kander

Paul Warde

Princeton University Press

This chapter summarizes the book's main findings and their implications for the future, reflecting in particular on the limits of growth, peak oil, technology, and prospects for a return to the organic economy. The central part of the book's argument is that pre-industrial Europe faced energy constraints to economic growth, and was set free from these constraints by the adoption of fossil fuels, including coal. It suggests that the transition to fossil fuels was both a necessary condition and an enabling factor leading to modern growth. This concluding chapter presents two tenets that can inform contemporary debates about energy transitions and the future of economic growth. First, societies move on trajectories, but what has happened in the past bears a strong influence on paths taken in the future. Second, we can establish relationships between energy consumption and economic growth, even as the character of these relationships is not stable over time.

Keywords:   peak oil, technology, organic economy, Europe, energy, economic growth, fossil fuels, coal, energy transitions, energy consumption

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