Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil by Timothy Mitchell, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil

Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil

by Timothy Mitchell
     
 

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How do oil and democracy mix? Oil is a curse, we are told, that causes corruption and war, but Carbon Democracy tells a different story. Timothy Mitchell rethinks the history of energy, the politics of nature, the work of democracy, and the place of the Middle East in our common world. He begins with the history of coal, which gave those who produced it the

Overview

How do oil and democracy mix? Oil is a curse, we are told, that causes corruption and war, but Carbon Democracy tells a different story. Timothy Mitchell rethinks the history of energy, the politics of nature, the work of democracy, and the place of the Middle East in our common world. He begins with the history of coal, which gave those who produced it the power to shut down energy systems, a power they used to build the first mass democracies. Oil offered the West an alternative source of energy, and a different form of politics. It helped create a denatured political life whose central object, the economy, appeared capable of infinite growth. It created democratic forces dependent on an undemocratic Middle East. And it left us with an impoverished political practice, incapable of addressing the crises that threaten to end the age of carbon democracy—the disappearance of cheap energy and the carbon-fueled collapse of the ecological order.

Editorial Reviews

Financial Times
Carbon Democracy is a sweeping overview of the relationship between fossil fuels and political institutions from the industrial revolution to the Arab Spring, which adds layers of depth and complexity to the accounts of how resource wealth and economic development are linked.”
Foreign Policy
“A challenging, sophisticated, and important book.”
Naked Capitalism
It’s a book that tackles a really big subject, in a sweeping but readable fashion, and after reading it, it’s hard to imagine thinking about political power the same way again ... This book utterly blew me away.— Matt Stoller
Mahmood Mamdani
“A remarkable book that deserves a wide audience.”
Matt Stoller - Naked Capitalism
“It’s a book that tackles a really big subject, in a sweeping but readable fashion, and after reading it, it’s hard to imagine thinking about political power the same way again ... This book utterly blew me away.”
Naked Capitalism - Matt Stoller
“It’s a book that tackles a really big subject, in a sweeping but readable fashion, and after reading it, it’s hard to imagine thinking about political power the same way again ... This book utterly blew me away.”
From the Publisher
"Timothy Mitchell’s Carbon Democracy examines the simultaneous rise of fossil-fueled capitalism and mass democracy and asks very intelligent questions about the fate of democracy when oil production declines."
—Benjamin Kunkel, New Statesman

Carbon Democracy is a sweeping overview of the relationship between fossil fuels and political institutions from the industrial revolution to the Arab Spring, which adds layers of depth and complexity to the accounts of how resource wealth and economic development are linked.”
Financial Times

“A challenging, sophisticated, and important book.”
—Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy

“A brilliant, revisionist argument that places oil companies at the heart of 20th century history—and of the political and environmental crises we now face … If we’re ever to curb such behaviour, and to regain some comprehension of our planet’s preciousness, we need first to understand how it came about. Not a book for the season of indulgence, this one. But one that demands to be widely shared.”
—Susanna Rustin, Guardian

“This study of the basis of modern democracy over the past century connects oil-producing states of the Middle East with industrial democracies of the West. Mitchell argues that carbon democracy in the West has been based on the assumption that unlimited oil will produce endless economic growth, and he concludes that this model cannot survive the exhaustion of these fuels and associated climate change. Tim Mitchell has written a remarkable book that deserves a wide audience.”
—Mahmood Mamdani, author of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

“It’s a book that tackles a really big subject, in a sweeping but readable fashion, and after reading it, it’s hard to imagine thinking about political power the same way again ... This book utterly blew me away.”
—Matt Stoller, Naked Capitalism

“A remarkable account of the politics of oil and nation building in the Middle East.”
The Herald

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844677450
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
11/07/2011
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Mitchell teaches at Columbia University. His books include Colonising Egypt, Rule of Experts, and Carbon Democracy.

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