My friends over at MasterResource have posted a new entry by Dale Steffes, “Our Age of Energy.”
Steffes accurately points out how increased energy use in the 20th Century has benefited mankind significantly in the 20th Century .In a season where increased energy use is under attack, his post is a must read.
But I’d suggest another name for the 20th Century, The Age of Capital. The growth in capital is what made it possible to increase energy use–no new capital, no rapid growth in energy use. To underscore Steffes point, we can see that increased use of energy was of great importance to people since they chose to devote so much of the newly available capital to energy. But it was still the capital that made the growth of energy use possible.
Of course, just as energy use is under attack these days, so is capital accumulation. The Left in developed countries does whatever it kind to stifle capital accumulation, while dictators and other authoritarian regimes in developing countries do the same.
Widespread capital accumulation is a recent phenomenon, but it goes back more than a hundred years. In fact, for all the fuss over arts and science, capital accumulation was perhaps the most important accomplishment of the Renaissance as the Italians for teh first time developed national and international means of financing production and commerce.
So while I’m all on board with the importance of increased energy use, I’ll stick with the Age of Capital as the label for the 20th Century. Let’s hope that in the 21st Century we get most of the despotic governments in the Developed and Third Worlds out of the way so that people throughout the world can accumulate capital and that time can become known as Age of Freedom.