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date: 25 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Fossil fuels and their high yield of available energy regulate the global economy and structure its hierarchy of nations. When a “pulse” of energy—over months, years, decades, or centuries—enters the global industrial system, overshoot dynamics are often observed. The system enters a new mode of production, with new technical combinations. Once it does, it is extremely difficult to return to the old infrastructure, even though the energy resource that provided the pulse likely will yield less over the years (the US and its highway system provide one example of an infrastructural system conceived in a higher-yielding environment, the US oil boom of the early twentieth century). As the energy surplus, or marginal resource return, begins to diminish, output declines, slowing the rise of powerful nations, and transferring growth elsewhere. The effects of declining returns often show up in the monetary system.

Keywords: energy, monetary, fossil fuel, oil, industry, economy, infrastructure

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