Keystone of an Empire

Grecian Façade © Jim Korpi

“When it comes to the exigencies of energy, our rich, high-tech Western societies aren’t any different from poor developing societies or, for that matter, from ancient Rome. All our societies require enormous flows of high-quality energy just to sustain, let alone raise, their complexity and order (to keep themselves, in the clumsy terminology of physics, far from thermodynamic equilibrium). Without constant inputs of high-quality energy, complex societies aren’t resilient to external shock. In fact, they almost certainly can’t endure. These ever present dangers drive societies to relentlessly search for energy sources with the highest possible return on investment (EROI). They also drive societies to aggressively control and organize the territories that supply their energy and to extend their interests, engagements, and often their political and economic domination far beyond their current borders—as we see today with American involvement in Iraq and the Persian Gulf.” – Thomas Homer-Dixon The Upside of Down

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