The Energy Racket
Introduction and Summary
By Wade Frazier
Today's energy industry is perhaps the world's most powerful. Energy is the basis of all this world's wealth, and for perhaps Earth's entire history the Sun's energy has fueled all ecological and economic systems. If early humans did not learn to exploit new sources of energy, humankind would still be living with its ape cousins in the tropical forests. Without the continual exploitation of new energy sources, there would have been no civilization, no colonialism, no Industrial Revolution, no global capitalism and no looming global catastrophe.
All life on Earth consumes the Sun's energy, originally captured by the process of photosynthesis, except for chemical-synthesizing bacteria, which might be responsible for part of the world's oil deposits. There is an audacious theory recently posited by Thomas Gold of Cornell that all the so-called "fossil fuels" were not created by life processes, but by purely chemical processes of Earth's formation. If that is so, the news is worse for humanity's long-term prospects, as we are rapidly depleting a resource, with no way to make more, as well as creating environmental devastation by mining and using it.
Millions of years ago, humanity's evolutionary ancestors lived in Africa's tropical forests, as did their great ape cousins, and fruit was their dietary mainstay. By walking upright and making tools, humanity's ancestors exploited new energy resources, such as animal remains scavenged from predator kills. Early protohumans migrated from Africa about two million years ago, probably following migrating African predators. They eventually harnessed fire and invented other energy-consuming/preserving adaptations, such as clothing, which allowed them to survive past their natural range in the tropics.
About 100,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans appeared on the scene. By about 40,000 years ago, humans improved their weapons technology to the point where they became Earth's first and only superpredator, expanding its range across the entire planet. By about 10,000 years ago, humanity had exterminated all the easily hunted large animals, and the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was no longer sustainable on a global basis. Domestication of animals and food crops led to civilization. Domesticating animals, plants and enslaving humans were the significant activities of early civilization, and ideological indoctrination began in those early days, as the slaves needed to be conditioned to accept their status. The positions of the new elite classes also needed an acceptable justification. Often the most ruthless and successful elites became "royalty".
The human journey has largely been about refining methods of exploiting energy and manipulating the natural environment to human benefit. The West calls that process "progress". The extinction of large, easily killed animals was probably the earliest instance of humans exhausting their primary energy source (although original migrations from Africa might have been due to outstripping energy supplies largely fruit in the tropical forests). Early agricultural practices also exhausted the lands, although the dynamic of deforestation, farming and desertification persists to this day. As the energy of wood was used up, and the resultant deforested lands were devastated by agricultural practices, other sources of energy were exploited, leading to the "fossil fuel" revolution, which began with coal mining in Europe and China about a millennium ago. Less than 150 years ago, oil became the next fuel to undergo large-scale exploitation, and its use coincided with amassing capitalistic, monopolistic empires, significantly by United States robber barons, John Rockefeller most notably. His oil companies still dominate the oil industry, and fossil fuels comprise about 85% of world energy production today. The process of extracting and using fossil fuels is environmentally disastrous. Rapid global warming, mainly caused by burning fossil fuels, is one of the greatest threats that humanity faces today.
The West's capitalistic ideology has transformed a traditional deadly sin, greed, into a virtue, and the racketeering impulse has guided the creation of all capitalistic empires. Every significant industry and profession is largely a self-serving racket, and the larger and more powerful the industry or profession is, the more it resembles an outright racket, something I discovered that the hard way during my adventures. I participated in a significant effort to bring alternative energy to the marketplace. What happened to the venture that Dennis Lee headed is a case study of how alternative energy is suppressed. Alternative energy has been systematically suppressed, on a global scale, for the past century, and free energy technology has probably existed for a long time. Free energy would eliminate the energy industry, help heal the Earth, increase humanity's standard of living by perhaps a few orders of magnitude, and could end the Zero-Sum Game that humanity has been playing for the past 10,000 years. Tom Bearden and friends are mounting the latest run at it. The extent to which they succeed will probably be directly proportional to the public support they receive. The exploitation of energy may exterminate the human species, but it does not have to be that way. If we wake up and begin caring, solving our problems is easy. If we stay asleep, we are doomed. The problem has a lot more to do with integrity than technology or intelligence. Personal integrity is the world's scarcest commodity, and it needs to become more plentiful if humanity is to avoid its self-extinction. It is up to us.
The remainder of this article is available at Wade Frazier's website:
The Energy Racket
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