Chapter 3 E N E R G Y (c) 1991, 1993 by David G. Hays (c) 1995 by Janet Hays 3.1. ERGONOMICS 3.2. RANK 1: Muscle and fire 3.3. RANK 2: Advanced agriculture 3.4. RANK 3: Iron and coal 3.5. EFFICIENCY OF CONVERSIONS 3.6. WEIGHT AND POWER 3.7. EFFECTS OF ENERGY INCREASE 3.A. Appendix: Population Growth Each rank obtains energy by its own combination of conversions; the concept of efficiency becomes a goal in rank 3. Human welfare appears as an effect of energy growth only in rank 3; before that, population growth absorbs all advance. 3.1. ERGONOMICS* Each rank takes energy from nature and converts it: from chemical to heat, from heat to motion, and so on. The conversions that occur in the sapient's own body are most valued--work, play, growth. The flux of energy grows from rank to rank. Leslie White, an anthropologist, took it as his central theme that energy use per capita grows in the course of human history ( NRGYBIBL* ). Historians are not entirely in accord even on this elementary point, let alone its implications. For example, I have read that the industrial revolution was not really about power, since in many cases steam replaced water- wheels or windmills. But differences do appear from rank to rank: Quantity: More energy per capita Structure: New sources, uses, and pathways Unit capacity: Engines get bigger Engine weight: More power per pound Efficiency: More power per calory of fuel This rich phenomenon has attracted many analysts ( NRGYBIBL* ). I have inserted references to Smil's recent compendious book ( GEEB* ) into this edition. Let's take a first look at quantity, and then lay out a plan for the chapter. Each rank at least doubles the flux of energy per capita. Earl Cook* (p. 84) gives some numbers, which I present graphical- ly as best I can: PFHHAAIIIIIMMMMM The letters stand for PFHHAIIIIIIMMMMM P - Primitive man - Rank 0 FHHHAIIIIIIMMMMM F - Foraging (hunting) man AAAAAIIIIIIMMMMM - Rank 1 AAAAAIIIIIIMMMMM H - Horticultural (primitive IIIIIIIIIIIMMMM agricultural) man - Rank 1+ IIIIIIIIIIIMMMM A - Advanced Agricultural man MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM - Rank 2 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM I - Industrial man - Rank 3 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM M - Modern (technological) man MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM - Rank 4 (nearly) MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM Each character stands for about MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM 1 Mcal/day of energy MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM = 1,000 Kcal/day MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM = 1,000,000 calories per day So Primitive man has 2 Mcal/day. Each level continues all of the energy to the left of and above its own space; foragers have 5 Mcal/day. I have changed Cook's terms to get distinct initial letters; his terms are in parentheses, where different. The following lines distribute the energy available (Mcal/- day) at each level over categories of use: RANK FOOD DOMESTIC AGRICULTURE TRANSPORT TOTAL P 0 2 2 F 1 3 2 5 H 1+ 4 4 4 12 A 2 6 12 7 1 26 I 3 7 32 24 14 77 M 3+ 10 66 91 63 230 (Data from Cook* p. 84.) Rank 2 (26 Mcal per person per day) has roughly five times the energy flux of rank 1 (5 Mcal/day). Rank 3+ trebles rank 3. Successive ranks achieve this per capita increase while raising their populations. Moreover, since rank 1 filled the habitable world, the density of population increased as well. In the course of the chapter, I supply calculations about energy, population, and land area. From those calculations, I arrive at these daily energy densities in inhabited areas: Rank 1 5 Mcal per square mile Rank 2 2,600 Rank 3 20,000 Rank 3+ 87,446 These are truly horseback estimates. I used Britain in 1870 for rank 3. And if I used Japan 1990 rather than New York State 1970 for rank 3+, I should obtain a larger number for that rank. The rate of growth from rank to rank seems to be decreasing: We may now have as much as 5 times the energy density that rank 3 achieved; at its peak, rank 3 may have had 10 times as much as rank 2; and rank 2 had 500 times what rank 1 enjoyed. What if we allow 230 Mcal/day for each of, say, 6 billion persons? That would bring all of Earth up to the USA's recent level, and the global energy flux to 1.38 x 10^12 Mcal per day. Where could our descendants obtain that much energy? And if they could get it, how would they radiate it out into space, where all energy must eventually be transmitted if the climate is to remain stable? And, most difficult of all, how could they obtain so much energy without producing wastes in disastrous amounts? Before going into those questions, I ask once more what happened in history, and why it happened. Where did our fore- bears get their energy, how did they make it useful, and by what means did they up the ante again and again? And, above all, why did they crave energy? In a word, I propose to examine ergonomic history in an evolutionary perspective. By _ergonomics_, I intend this: We take from nature a quantity of energy; we convert and apply that energy in various ways, devoting a portion of our own time; we dispose of waste energy; but we derive pleasure, comfort, security, health, and life itself from this turmoil, which therefore eminently deserves to be called 'practical'. The changes from rank to rank are both quantitative and structural. Most of Earth's energy comes from the Sun. A little of it originates in radioactive processes right here, as mass becomes energy; and we get a little energy from geological processes ( GEEB* 11-57). Even fossil fuels--coal and oil--and the energy- bearing materials in topsoil got their energy from the Sun. Our technology generally has to do with _conversions_: From chemical energy to heat, with fire From heat to motion, with a steam engine From linear to rotatory motion, with a crank and so on. In every conversion, some energy is lost--typically dissipated into the environment as heat. We _use_ energy first of all for metabolism, to keep our bodies running ( GEEB* 59-95 ). Then for processes, such as cooking food or smelting metals. Also to drive our devices, from sewing machines to computers. And in every use as in every conversion, we waste a portion of our energy. For each rank, I shall attempt to display the ergonomic structure and estimate - Energy taken from the environment - Power delivered to useful purposes - Human labor required - Material welfare produced For our own situation in the USA in the 1990s, some of this is not much better than guesswork; for remote times and places, information is far less reliable. Alas, our predecessors did not anticipate our need for information and kept few or no quantita- tive records. Useful power can be compared with energy taken to give an estimate of technological efficiency. Material welfare can be compared with labor input to give an estimate of wage rates. The ratio of useful power to material welfare is an indicator of something: Efficiency, perhaps, or empowerment. If each rank raises efficiency and wages, we are entitled to hope that rank 4 (if it comes) can do it again; if not, the people of Earth must ask whether there is enough power on Earth to provide the materi- al welfare of the American middle class to all of them. We will see paradigm shifts as we go along; and we will see, perhaps, that the future is not likely to consist of stringing more zeros onto energy fluxes. See Fig_3_1* for a summary of the technological innovations in conversion and application of energy. 3.2. RANK 1: MUSCLE AND FIRE 3.2.1. Ecological Ergonomy. Getting a living out of the Sun's energy ... 3.2.2. !Kung Quantities. What hunters do for a living, and gatherers ... 3.2.3. From Campfires to Gunpowder. Some steps toward another rank ... Rank 1 lives on the products of solar energy, converted by plants and animals, by fire, and by human effort. Foragers live widely scattered and need work but little; as the number of sapients grows, and their density increases, they begin to pay some attention to the supply of both animals and plants. There is evidence for the use of fire by _Homo pekinensis_ before we, _Homo sapiens_, evolved--the Primitive man in Cook's data is of an even earlier kind. Rank 1 depends entirely on solar energy, which is absorbed by the plants that rank 1 gathers, the plants that nourish the animals that rank 1 hunts, the plants whose woody parts provide the fuel for fires. Sunlight amounts to a great deal of energy, but only a very small part of that energy is stored in the plant and animal matter consumed by human beings. We can take the whole of the sunlight received as a resource, and say that it is used with infinitesimal efficiency; or we can take the energy in the food and fuel actually consumed as the resource. 3.2.1. Ecological Ergonomy In an ideal-typical society of rank 1, only wild plants and animals, human muscle, and small fires convert energy usefully. Figure 3.2 ( Fig_3_2* ) summarizes the ergonomic structure here. Each row and each column contains information about a category of energy converters. Rows show outputs and columns show inputs. Thus plants (first row) provide oxygen and food for animals (second column). The table compresses reality ferociously. What does it mean to say that plants provide seed and compost to plants? The first level of expansion says that a plant, by its reproductive action, produces seeds which grow to be plants again, and that plants, by decomposition under the influence of micro-organisms, collapse into matter from which later genera- tions of plants can gather minerals already bound into useful compounds. We could expand again, and again, until we were explaining vast amounts of biology and physics. It is not appropriate to go so far in this book (see GEEB* instead), but we do need to remember that this and subsequent tables are only summaries. By their own metabolism, and by the fires they use, human beings accelerate the conversion of energy that plants have captured and stored into waste heat, which must radiate from Earth into space. The other side of this coin is reduction of plant and animal matter from high-energy forms (food and fuel) to low-energy forms, notably carbon dioxide, excrement, and ash. 3.2.2. !Kung Quantities Cook estimates for rank 1 Food 3 Mcal/person/day Domestic 2 Mcal/person/day But I want to understand the system: The internal dynamics, the relations among the parts. Fortunately, although there are no records for the period more than ten thousand years ago when all human beings lived in this way, there are reports from several anthropologists who have lived among contemporary foraging groups and kept accounts of effort and energy. A good one, often quoted, is that of Richard Borshay Lee (1969 in FORGBIBL* ). The people he studied were the !Kung, who live in a dry part of southern Africa. The Pimentels (FESo 30-35) summarize that account, and provide additional calculations. In Table 4.2, I give details; the next paragraphs sketch the situation. [See also GEEB* 96-104; in FORGBIBL* Kemp analyzes Eskimo hunters; McCarthy reports from Australia; Sahlins surveys food getting.] A portion of the energy consumed in any group is for human satisfaction, but another portion has to be spent in acquiring the whole. Each family in rank 1 lives on its own efforts; of five persons, three may be mature and vigorous; the rest are too young or too old to work. One person can, at most, deliver about 0.05 Hp (horsepower). But persons of rank 1 do not work steadily. The amount of effort applied to obtain food and do every other practical task is small. An equally small amount of energy is captured from fire. Energy taken Mcal/day 5.75 Power used Hph/day 0.57 Mcal/day 0.37 Human labor Hrs/day 2.20 Material welfare 1990 $/wk $29.86 Efficiency 8.1% Wage rate 1990 $/hr $1.94 Empowerment Hph/1990 $ 0.13 Cook* allows foragers 5 Mcal/day, and my table reports 5.75. That difference is small, given that Cook is averaging over the Earth and all these numbers are crude. On a foraging day, an adult among the !Kung averages 5.4 hours which, at 0.05 hp, amounts to 0.27 hph, worth 0.173 Mcal. This person eats 2.680 Mcal of food on such a day, for an effi- ciency of about 6.5%. Or, if we do not charge against efficiency the energy costs of sleeping and enjoying non-working time, the per- son's efficiency is almost 13%. The efficiency of an open fire for personal warmth and cooking is lower than that. I measure material welfare in 1990 dollars because I know of no alternative. What would it cost, per person, to buy the groceries for a rank 1 diet? Allow something more for the cook- ing. Add in the value of the clothing and shelter. In an attempt to guess what rank 1 clothing would be worth in New York, discounting any special value for the collector, I imagined a bark-cloth skirt for sale on a rack on 14th Street next to the cheapest kind of modern skirt. The price would have to be low indeed to find a buyer. Comparing this analysis of the !Kung with Cook's figures, I find that I have given them a bit less to eat than he allowed and that I have given them a bit more fuel for their fires than he estimated. The orders of magnitude match, and every example of a rank 1 group would produce a somewhat different result. Population density in rank 1 is on the whole around 0.1 to 1 person per square mile (in POPLBIBL* Deevey 1960, Keyfitz 1963, Dumond 1975, Hassan 1975; Campbell* 1985; in FORGBIBL* Lee 1968; AGSPREAD* 1984 p. 63; in NRGYBIBL* GEEB* 100). The land area of the Earth is about 60 million square miles. About 10,000 years ago, at the end of the time when all of Earth's people were foragers, the experts reckon the population at 3 to 5 million: 1 person per 12 to 20 square miles. Leaving out the coldest, the driest, the most rugged parts of Earth brings us to something like the right order of magnitude. The !Kung numbered 248 and had a territory of 2850 sq km = 1100 sq mi; about 0.23 per sq mi in arid country. At 1 person per square mile, Cook's allowance of 5 Mcal per day per person leads to a density of energy over the populated area of 5 Mcal per square mile. 3.2.3. From Campfires to Gunpowder On the growth curve from rank 1 to rank 2, horticulture is an early step. Burn a part of the forest, to return minerals to the soil, and plant a crop. After one or at most a few crops, leave that patch to revert to forest again and plant another. The fallow period between crops can be 20 years or longer. For this kind of life, several estimates of labor have been published (see GEEB* 105-111). Rappaport* (1971) describes the Tsembaga of New Guinea. He found a population of 204 in a territory of 3.2 sq mi. In their mountainous district, they had only 1000 acres that they cared to plant, and 90% of that had to lie fallow in any year. Nevertheless, they ate well enough. A garden produces rather more than 20 K Mcal/year. The typical 103 lb man needs 2.6 Mcal/day, or about 1 K Mcal/year. The typical 85 lb woman needs 2.2 Mcal/day, or about 0.8 K Mcal/year. A quarter-acre plot would feed a family of four or five in its first year, and it continues to give something in a second year. If I have made proper assumptions, read the numbers right, and converted with good arithmetic, the Tsembaga need work only about 430 hours a year each (men and women both work) to feed themselves, their dependents, and the pigs that they reserve for a feast every few years. Suppose they work another 430 hours each on other chores, or 860 hours a year all together. That is about 2/5 of a modern work year of 40 hours x 50 weeks. With 2/5 of the people working 2/5 of the year at 0.05 hp, the society gets by on 0.01 hp per capita. And they live with a density of 26 persons per square kilometer, surprisingly high for horticul- ture. Other estimates are quoted by Pimentel ( EAWM* 7-8) from Lewis and Stadelman. A Mexican horticulturist works 1144 hours per hectare to get 6.84 K Mcal of corn. On poorer soil, a Guatemalan works 1415 hours to get 3.75 K Mcal of corn. These figures are not so much different from New Guinea, although corn requires grinding (not taken into account in these figures) as the sweet potatoes, taro, cassava, and yams of New Guinea do not. Food conversion is added labor with corn. The Mexican needs almost a hectare for a family of 5, and the Guatemalan needs more. In horticultural groups as with foragers, all waste matter returns to the soil and all energy comes from the sun day by day, to be cumulated annually in plants and during a lifetime in animals. Labor is sometimes light, but there is no material wealth beyond the group land. Even houses are for temporary use. As long as the population is well below the carrying capacity of the land, this life can go on forever; but archeologists have found evidence of disasters in such groups, and attributed them to over-population and over-utilization of the land, resulting in collapse of the soil. After horticulture is established (about 10,000 years ago in the earliest example), domesticated animals and sails come into use, and the agriculture becomes a little more regular. Eventu- ally a small portion of our species reaches the step after foraging in Cook's table, the H step with 12 Mcal/day per capita. Cook suggests 7000 years ago in the Near East, but at suitable dates this life was lived in China and India. Only a little further along the growth curve toward rank 2, potentates organize human effort in massive amounts to raise pyramids and temples. In European antiquity, a few small water- wheels are built. Later, when Germanic peoples from northern Europe begin moving toward rank 2 and receive ideas from Islamic peoples and the East, they build waterwheels in large number. At that time, also, fireplaces and chimneys appear; and so does gunpowder, from China. The use of solar energy becomes more efficient with the development of agriculture; the density of population grows correspondingly higher, to perhaps 25 persons per square mile. 3.3. RANK 2: ADVANCED AGRICULTURE 3.3.1. Animals, Wind, and Water. New converters of energy ... 3.3.2. From Horseback to Iron Horse. Toward a new rank ... The turn to fossil fuels ... The power of air and water in motion can be converted into useful energy by windmills and waterwheels; rank 2 made these inventions, and harnessed livestock to plows, carts, capstans, and treadmills. Cook takes his example from northwestern Europe in 1400. This technological level uses beasts of burden, waterwheels, windmills and sails, and much bigger, hotter fires. Wind and water drive grain mills and later many other machines. (See GEEB* 111-147.) 3.3.1. Animals, Wind, and Water Let us consider a model of rank 2 life, a farming village with Population 100 Working adults 60 Wind and water mills 3 Working animals 20 Workweek hours 60 Schulman, quoted by Stanhill (EnAg 115), estimates 90 units of animal energy for 18.6 of human in French agriculture in 1775; in this model the animals provide 100 hph per day and the human beings 30, but I am exaggerating the output of both. The Domesday Book, cited often by historians, lists 5624 water mills for 3000 communities in 1086; windmills come in later, but there are a good many by 1400. These estimates for animals and mills are most likely not much above the ordinary situation. Rank 2 windmills and waterwheels give about 4-20 hp each (EnEc 7). For the horse or the ox, the working limit is about 0.5 hp. The ergonomics of the farming village is sketched in Fig_3_3* . The weather supplies power to machines (mills), through wind and running water. As long as we are thinking about the weather, we might as well recall that growing plants need rain. The role of plants here is the same as before. Animals still provide food, and they are now harnessed to plows, carts, and mills. Coal is used for heating and cooking fires, but in such small quantity that I leave it out of my calculations; the shortage of wood forces the English unwillingly to turn mainly to coal only from about 1600. Fire still provides heat and light, and although there are enough fireplaces in Europe to raise the efficiency of fire a little, there are not many by 1400. Machines serve for grinding grain and almost nothing else. But the spin- ning wheel has appeared. Cook estimates for rank 2 Food 6 Mcal/person/day Domestic 12 Agriculture 7 Transportation 1 The advantage of rank 2 over rank 1 or 1+ is questionable. Plowing with an animal to pull the plow is easier than using a digging stick. Grinding grain with a windmill is easier than using a mortar. But in the end the overall material welfare of the people is not as great, and the wage rate is lower. Why did welfare decrease? Because these villagers eat a lot of bread and not much meat, whereas the !Kung eat mongongo nuts and meat. The villagers have houses, clothing, and furniture, but all of their goods are crude and they can rarely replace a garment or anything else. Why is the wage rate lower? Because the villagers are working hard to get a living out of a small plot of ground. Energy taken Mcal/day 25.85 Per capita Power used Hph/day 5.10 Mcal/day 3.28 Human labor Hours/wk 60 Material welfare 1990 $/wk $27.66 Double food cost Efficiency % 12.69 Wage rate 1990 $/hr $0.77 Double food cost Empowerment Hph/1990 1.11 The extra power is part of what it takes to live ten times more densely than at rank 1. By 1300, the population density in France had reached 100 per square mile (SHTy 33). The applied effort, combined with sunlight and rain, furnished the French with an adequate diet, with more meat in 1400 than they would have in 1800. As yet artificial or imported fertilizer played no great role. Fallow was practiced adequately to keep the topsoil in good condition in 1400, but perhaps not in 1800. And during this period all of Europe was burning wood faster than the forests could grow. 3.3.2. From Horseback to Iron Horse Coal is mined for domestic use, and later coke comes into use for iron smelting and forging. Sailing ships--caravels-- combining square and triangular sails are good enough to cross the Atlantic and go around the world. Finally, rank 2 produces the atmospheric engine: Steam raises a piston, and air pressure forces it down. Newcomen gets credit for the version that works well enough for a few purposes, especially removing water from the mines of England. Between rank 2 and rank 3, Benjamin Franklin invents his stove, to raise the efficiency of domestic fires, and conceives of the identity of lightning, a natural phenomenon, and static electricity, which is being generated artificially by European experimenters. James Watt, probably with some conceptual help from Joseph Black, a chemist at the University of Edinburgh, looks at the steam engine as a heat machine and makes revolutionary changes in it. Watt's engines can be used in factories, ships, and--once the boiler pressure is raised--in railroad locomotives. Coal gas is brought into use for lighting and for internal combustion engines. Nobel invents dynamite. Turbines replace wheels for both water and steam power. Finally, after several persons have attempted to use steam for free-moving land vehicles, Gottfried Daimler provides the automobile with a light, powerful internal-combustion engine. The history of the steam engine is summarized in Fig_3_4* . 3.4. RANK 3: IRON AND COAL 3.4.1. The Age of Steam. An industrial revolution 3_4_1* 3.4.2. From Electricity to Nuclear Forces. Moving toward a new rank ... 3_4_2* The first industrial revolution combined coal as fuel, iron as structural material, and certain simple chemicals--all of which became easy to obtain in large quantity--to produce a massive quantity of goods. In the late twentieth century, awareness of the finite quantity of fossil fuels in the Earth disseminated widely. What distinguishes rank 3 is the application of science in economic life. The science was not very good by the standards of the 1990s, but it was good enough to effect an industrial revolu- tion. The invention of invention made change commonplace. Compare, for example, "the most famous machine in the world", according to a 1759 handbook, with a grand engine of 1876. The plant, built 1681-85 at Marly, raised water for the fountains of Versailles. Its 14 water wheels, each 40' diameter, drove 221 pumps, raising the water 526'. Total horsepower, 80-- perhaps the largest of its type. (Gartmann, p. 6, in BIBLNOTE* and also GEEB* 139) On May 10, 1876, President Grant and Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil opened the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia by starting a Corliss steam engine that drove 8000 machines. 2500 hp, 40' tall, 700 tons; the largest ever built. Transmission through belts and pulleys, lighter than the European shafts and gears. (In AMERBIBL* Breeden, pp. 109, 112; Norman, p. 139; Heyn, p. 16) 3.4.1. The Age of Steam The ideal-typical society of rank 3 is not very different from Britain around 1900. Britain produced 229 million tonnes of coal in that year for a population of 42 million, that is, almost 5.5 tonnes per person. Converted into horsepower hours, that makes 147.9 hph per person per day, or 18.5 hp for an 8-hour day. The horses were still there in 1900, on all the farms; and the human beings were working full out. Human effort 0.02 Animal power 0.2 Coal 18.5 Rank 3 total 18.72 (See Fig_3_5* for ergonomic flows here.) Agriculture feeds the people and animals. The coal fires iron refineries and found- ries, steam engines, and furnaces for space heating. Wood is almost insignificant as a fuel. Agriculture is now using imported fertilizer, and certainly reducing the value of the topsoil. Coal is drawn from a finite supply, and a large propor- tion of the energy derived by burning coal is wasted. This rank is consuming the Earth's capital and not getting full benefit. (18.72 hp for 8 hours corresponds to 94,900 Kcal per person per day, a little higher than the number at the top of this chapter-- by 1900 Britain was above the typical rank 3 area.) The area of Great Britain in 1990 is 94,214 sq mi. In 1870 the part of Ireland which is now a republic was part of the United Kingdom, adding 26,600 sq mi. In that total area of 120,814 sq mi there lived 31.484 million persons. The density was therefore 260.6 persons per square mile. At Cook's energy level of 77 Mcal per day per person, the flux was 20,066 Mcal per day per square mile. (See GEEB* 149-219.) 3.4.2. From Electricity to Nuclear Forces Rank 3 employs electricity for lighting, factory power, and railroads, and applies chemistry to crack petroleum into gasoline and other useful substances. It improves the internal-combustion engine in a host of ways. As we move from rank 3 toward rank 4, we discover nuclear energy. We rework coal burning systems and introduce gas turbines. We improve the efficiency of machines so that more of the energy consumed goes to the end purpose intended. For an approach to rank 4, take the United States in 1960 (ergonomic flows in Fig_3_6* -- I dropped the "Weather" column to gain space, and switched from "Coal" to "Fossil" because other fossil fuels are in use), where energy consumption was 45 quads (quadrillion Btu) for a population of 185 million; the sources were oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy--in that order of quantity. (Landsberg 30-32.) Industry used about 155 million hp, consuming 16 quads. At that rate, 45 quads would supply 435 million hp. So we can reckon Rank 3++ Total 2.35 380.4 Mtons = 340 Mtonnes 340 Mtonnes / 185 Mpersons = 1.838 tonnes/person 1838 kg/person / 0.714 kg/kwh = 2574 kwh/person 2574 kwh/person x 1.34 hph/kwh = 3449 hph/person 3449 hph/person / 2000 hours = 1.725 hp/person from coal Coal is about 1/4 of total; total = 4 x 1.725 = 6.9 1983: USA uses 2468 Mtonnes coal equivalent. 2468 Mtonnes / 250 Mpersons = 10 tonnes/person 10,000 kg/person x 1.34 hph/kwh = 13,400 hph/person 13,400 hph/person / 2000 hours = 6.7 hp/person total From 0.02 to 2.35 hp per capita is, we might say, just two orders of magnitude. Should we agree that increasing energy flux goes with evolution of technology and culture? If so, what happens at and beyond rank 4? Will the energy flux go up again? In the USA in 1970, Cook estimated Food 10,000 Kcal/person/day Domestic 66,000 Industry 91,000 Transportation 63,000 Energy taken from the environment 230,000 Kcal/person/day Power delivered to useful purposes 25.36 hph/person/day Human labor required 40 hrs/person/week Material welfare produced $50/person/week Efficiency (Power/Energy) 2.5% Wage rate (Material/Labor) $2.50 Empowerment (Power/Welfare) 0.0224 hph/$ The population of the USA in 1970 was 204 million. Its land area was 3,615,123 sq mi. The density was therefore 56.4 persons per square mile. Allowing Cook's energy level of 230 Mcal per day per person, we get 12,979 Mcal/sq mi per day. But much of the United States is empty still--Alaska, for example, and the western desert. Take New York State, which in 1970 had 18.19 million persons in 47,834 sq mi of land area, a density of 380.2 persons per square mile. Cook's energy level gives 87,446 Mcal per square mile per day. 3.5. EFFICIENCY OF CONVERSIONS "All energy use ends up as unrecoverable waste heat. The final heat sink for the earth is radiation to space." (Chauncey Starr, E&Pr* 12) 3.5.1. Rank 1 Conversions 3.5.2. Rank 2 Conversions 3.5.3. Rank 3 Conversions 3.5.4. Toward Rank 4 We talk about "generators" of electricity, but what we have are converters of other kinds of energy into electric energy. In fact, all power plants from campfires to jet engines convert energy from one form to another. The only exception is the nuclear reactor, which converts mass into energy. Besides an increasing flux of energy from rank to rank, rankshifts have extended the range of known and usable conver- sions. At first, if we leave out the use of human muscle, only conversions between chemical and kinetic energy are possible. The attempt to master kinetic energy carries us through rank 2. Heat is understood in rank 3, and electromagnetic and nuclear energy come in with the approach to rank 4. Rankshift may also bring increased efficiency in energy conversion. Certainly each successful technology becomes more efficient over time. Newcomen's engines were at about 0.5%: 99.5% of the energy in the coal dissipated into the environment without doing anyone any good. But of course the loss of the coal and the pollution of the environment happened just as if the energy had served to pump water. Smeaton doubled that to 1%, more or less. Watt achieved 2.7% to 4.5%, and the ratio went up and up. By 1906, a triple-expansion engine had achieved 23% efficiency. As we approach rank 4, we are reworking steam engines. ( Forbes 4:164, InRvBIBL* .) Around 1900, the efficiency of electrical generation from coal by steam engines improved rapidly: 1900: Charles Parsons supplies 2 1500 kw steam turbogene- rators to Elberfeld, Germany. Biggest on Earth; axial flow. Use 8.3 kg of coal per killowatt hour. Williams 1987, p. 163, SHTC 68 1902: Electrical generators use 7 pounds (3.2 kg) of coal per kwh. Average cost for residential use, $0.162 per kwh. Pacey 1990, p. 249 1904: Carville power station, Newcastle, Great Britain. 6000 kW turbogenerators, use 2 kg of coal per kwh. SHTC 68 References in IR2BIBL* . In the production of iron, the amount of fuel used per ton of product did certainly fall during the 19th century, and also in the 20th, from 22 hundredweight of coke per ton of pig iron in 1900 to 10 hundredweight in 1970 (SHTC 122 in IR2BIBL* ). In 1841, a certain ironworks used 3.2 tons of coal to produce a ton of pig iron (Hyde, p. 153, in InRvBIBL* ). By 1841, part of the coal was used to produce a hot blast of air, and the coal mixed with the ore was in the form of coke. In 1750, the blast was not heated and the fuel was charcoal; for both reasons, the efficien- cy was lower at the earlier date. But the improving efficiency of each technology is not the same thing as replacement of some technology by another, more efficient one during rankshift. 3.5.1. Rank 1 Conversions Does the rank 1 person consume more food in order to work? A little, no doubt, but current opinion holds that rank 1 life was not particularly strenuous. The gross inefficiency of the rank 1 life is not in using muscle for hunting and gathering, but in letting sunlight go to waste. An open fire is not efficient in converting wood into useful energy: Light, body warmth, or cooking heat. If forests were burned to drive out animals during mass hunts, the waste of the wood and of the productive capacity of the forest itself is inefficient. And when planting begins, the burning of forest to clear space for crops is inefficient. 3.5.2. Rank 2 Conversions The men who row a boat occupy a substantial fraction of the boat's carrying capacity. A sailboat is therefore, in some sense, more efficient because the masts, sails, tackle, and sailors add up to a smaller weight and volume--sails themselves occupy none of the hull's cubage. Furthermore, the food eaten by a few sailors is less than the food eaten by many rowers. The net cost to society of a sailing ship is therefore, I assume, less than the net cost of a rowed ship. The use of horses, oxen, or other animals for power is not so clearly efficient in comparison with human power. Whatever horses eat--grass in a meadow, hay, or oats--they compete with human beings for the land to grow the food. They return manure that can be used to increase crop yield, and they may survive on food produced on land that is, for example, too wet to produce food for human beings. Perhaps the net balance favors the use of horses on farms, for plowing and also to drive the machines that all farms need (but in the right place, water buffalo serve well; see GEEB* 115). The efficiency of a system with wooden parts and horses for power cannot be high because of internal friction in the machine and because of metabolic waste in the horse--calories to keep it alive as well as calories to do the work. Beyond the farm, animals are more efficient pulling carts or wagons than carrying packs. They did supplant human beings in coal mines, moving the coal from where it was cut to the lift shaft and turning capstans to raise the coal to the surface. Power for machines also comes from wind and water. Measur- ing the efficiency of waterwheels is a tricky business. Taking a river as a whole, only a tiny fraction of the potential energy hits the mill; consider the drop over the whole course of the river, and the whole flow. Modern dams can use more of the drop and more of the flow than earlier millraces did. And the wooden parts of the wheel and the mill it drove were not efficient because of internal friction. The same is true of windmills, which capture little of the wind across a hilltop and convert what they catch into useful motion with low efficiency as long as they are built of wood. The Newcomen engine, as I have already mentioned, was a most inefficient converter of coal into power. Since it was the first device to consume a nonrenewable resource, we may feel the bite of its inefficiency. Where are the winds of yesteryear? We do not grieve the winds lost or used inefficiently by the windmills of the past, and the crops eaten to do work inefficiently are nothing to us except insofar as they depleted the soils we inherited, but the coals burned in Newcomen engines would still be useful to us if only the eighteenth century Britons had not consumed them. The ratios were poor; but the absolute quantities were negligible. Some of the parts were of wood, and the metal parts were crudely made and wasted steam first and power after. Nevertheless: "It was claimed, for example, that one Newcomen engine at Griff colliery in Warwickshire costing L150 per year to operate in fuel, maintenance, and labour, replaced horse-- pumping by a team of fifty horses costing L900 per year in feed and labour. (Flinn, p. 116 in InRvBIBL* ) But the number of Newcomen engines installed was on the order of 400 between 1710 or 1712 and 1775 (Flinn, 121-122). Rank 2, and the societies that lived on the growth curve up from rank 1, did in fact deplete soil by their incompetent methods of agriculture. But this is not necessarily an example of inefficiency. 3.5.3. Rank 3 Conversions Meteorological forces have little part in the energetics of rank 3, and biomass--food for animals and human workers, wood for fires--loses its part also. Rank 3 relies on fossil fuels, the nonrenewable resources, coal, petroleum, and natural gas. We are in the midst of working out solutions to the problems created by massive and inefficient use of these fuels which, to make things worse, pollute air, land, and water. Yet efficiency is the byword of rank 3. Science provided the knowledge that enabled rank 3 to improve the efficiency of all energy conversions, and imitations of science by managers gave special attention to efficiency. The rank 2 operators of blast furnaces had the craftsman's interest in efficiency, and chose their methods accordingly (Hyde in InRvBIBL* makes the case fully). But in rank 3 a category of inventors and engineers emerges, and many in this category have the efficiency of pro- cesses as their main concern. In part, efficiency grew with better tools and more precise workmanship. Boulton and Watt had to be content with pistons that fit their cylinders so snugly as to leave barely room for a shilling piece to slip through. I myself as an adolescent ran a machine that cut bearings to fit within a thousandth of an inch. The better tools and parts were, in general, of metal; wooden parts all but disappeared from machinery in rank 3. Another source of efficiency is the improvement of materi- als. Thermodynamics says that engine efficiency increases with temperature, and high temperatures require better metals and ceramics. Rank 3 moved from wood to metal to still better metal. Further increases in efficiency come from controlling waste. Watt separated the condenser from the cylinder to conserve heat in his steam engine, and used insulation besides. Once electri- city came into use, insulators and conductors were significant elements. Internal combustion engines must be designed to burn all of the fuel injected, letting almost none escape in the exhaust. Again, efficiency increases as the dead load shrinks. In automobiles, the weight of the engine, frame, shell, and fuel is dead load; the same is true of every vehicle. A Newcomen engine could not well drive a train or ship because the dead load was too large and the power too small. Diesel locomotives weigh less than steam locomotives of the same power, and carry no water. Oil tankers and airplanes have grown larger because the dead load per unit of cargo decreases with scale. Most factory machines are lighter than they once were, because improved materials are stronger per unit weight. But in the end efficiency often depends on a change in the whole gestalt of the system, replacement of one process by another. A compound steam engine, using a first set of cylinders with high-pressure steam and passing the exhaust at lower pres- sure to a second set of cylinders, is more efficient than a simple steam engine. Turbines are more efficient for both water and steam power than the earlier waterwheels or steam pistons. I think that it is fair from our perspective to call the systems of rank 3 inefficient. For many reasons, reasons of each of the kinds I have enumerated, rank 3 used more fossil fuels for its purposes than we would need to accomplish the same ends. The resources are gone, and are still going as the world continues to use rank 3 systems in many places for many purposes. On the other hand it seems equally fair to characterize efficiency as a rank 3 invention. Rank 2 did not think about efficiency so much, and accordingly did not achieve so much improvement. During the centuries when rank 3 thinking was the best on Earth, much was done to improve the efficiency of technological processes, and the results were dramatic. 3.5.4. Toward Rank 4 The significant novelty with regard to efficiency that we can see around us as we try to find a route to rank 4 is that we apply a much broader definition of resources in analyzing the efficiency of any process. We are trying to look further into the future than the fourteenth century ironmasters who stripped Britain of its forests to fuel their furnaces. We are trying to see efficiency in terms of process cost, and to include every kind of cost in our calculations: Sunlight, in these terms, is cheap in comparison with coal just because the sun will continue to shine whether we make something with its light or not, but the coal is gone once we burn it. And the residue that a process dumps into air, water, or land as waste is to be recognized as adding to the cost of the process, in proportion as the wastes are harmful and long-lasting. We cannot yet carry out such cost analyses satisfactorily, because we do not know enough about the large-scale dynamics of the natural systems in which we live. We are surprised, from time to time, by effects that are either worse or not so bad as we predict. The recent examples of the ozone hole and greenhouse effect serve to remind us that we cannot claim to have so much as an inventory of all the consequences of technological activity. But, just as efficiency turns out not to be an indicator of rankshift in general but only an indicator of rank 3 thinking, so I believe that breadth of vision is characteristic of our times, and perhaps a sign that we are actually laying a basis for a new rank. 3.6. WEIGHT AND POWER Technological advance is, in part, an increase in the ratio of power to weight in energy converters. This increase is often counterbalanced by a demand for a greater amount of energy. Some years ago, I invented a story about the computer: If progress in transportation had been as rapid as progress in computaton from 1945 to 1965, you could have bought a Cadillac automobile weighing no more than a paper plane for the price of a postage stamp. Later I heard enough versions of this story from enough sources to believe that others had thought of it for themselves, and to wonder if I had myself unconsciously repeated it from a forgotten source. But in fact dramatic shrinkage of energy converters did occur. Earlier. Daimler improved the internal combustion engine from 1800 pounds per horsepower to 45, or something like that. Steam engines ran at low pressure and were too big and heavy (in proportion to power output) to move around; high-pressure steam engines made railways possible. And so on. I mentioned above that the rowers' weight was a large part of the weight of an oar-propelled galley. Were the sails, masts, rigging, sailors, and their food a larger or smaller part of the weight of a clipper than the engines and fuel supply in a super- tanker? But note that improvements in efficiency and compactness have generally served not only to do things better on the same general plan but also to facilitate doing things on new plans. We shift from sailing ships to supertankers, but also to jet air- planes. We shift from shallow coal mines to deep, but also to open-pit and hydraulic mining, which move far more earth to get the same amount of coal. Here are issues that merit discussion in terms of envi- ronmental impact, the third world's hope of enjoying material living standards comparable to ours, and so on and so on. Progress often consists in reducing the size and energy cost of some technology. If that were the whole of it, we could foresee the spread of cheaper and cheaper technology to more and more people, with only moderate growth of total energy consumption. But, often, the improved thinking that makes an old technology more efficient also invents a new technology. The old goal becomes easier to achieve, but now we have a new goal. Once we asked, "Can I have a vacation?" Eventually we shall ask, "Can I have a vacation on the Moon?" The long-term future of the Earth depends on whether material ambition continues to climb as fast as the cost of satisfying old ambitions diminishes. And a real clinker. Take a man in India who sits under a tree all day and put him to work--hard physical labor. Now he needs more food. If his additional requirement drains the world's supply of energy more than a machine to do the same physical work, which way should India go? 3.7. EFFECTS OF ENERGY INCREASE 3.7.1. Primary Effects. More of everything ... 3_7_1* 3.7.2. Secondary Effects. Reorganizing ... 3_7_2* 3.7.3. Tertiary Effects. Thought itself changes ... 3_7_3* A society with greater flux of energy has more material goods, more education, longer lifespan, different kinds of government, and, in the long run, different modes of cogni- tion. Some of these differences may be attributed largely to the plenitude of energy, but most must result when many factors change together. 3.7.1. Primary Effects Material welfare, we might suppose, responds most directly to changes in the flux of energy. Let's look at some components: R 1 R 2 R 3 R 3++ Nourishing, palatable food Good Poor Fair Good Comfortable, pleasing clothes Poor Poor Fair Good Spacious, handsome shelter ? Poor Poor Fair Furnished in comfort ? Poor Poor Fair Art, entertainment, diversion Good Fair Fair Good Social companionship Good Good Fair Poor Education and information None Poor Fair Good Heat and light Poor Poor Fair Good Communication None Poor Fair Good Transportation None None Fair Good Security None None Fair Fair Health care None None Fair Fair My ratings are nothing but impressions; the reader may freely disagree. These ratings concern the typical person, with neither power nor wealth. According to my calculations, material welfare is about the same for a modern factory worker as for a forager: Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3++ Energy taken Mcal/day 5.95 25.85 230 Power used Hph/day 0.57 5.10 25.36 Mcal/day 0.37 3.28 Human labor Hours/week 23.76 60.00 40 Material welfare 1990 $/week $46.20 $27.66 $50 Efficiency % 8.20 12.69 2.5% Wage rate 1990 $/hr $1.94 $0.77 $2.50 Empowerment Hph/1990 $ 0.09 1.11 0.0224 The USA in recent years takes from the environment about 40 times as much energy per capita as a typical foraging society. Material welfare comes out about equal. Suppose we take away from the rank 1 forager half of what I have allowed, and give the modern American twice as much; then the ratio comes out a 4:1 on materi- al welfare. But not 40:1. Paul A. Samuelson, a renowned economist at MIT, presents a chart of "English price levels and real wage, 1270-1980" in his textbook of economics (11th edition, p. 257). The source is an article by E. H. Phelps Brown and S. V. Hopkins ( WAGEBIBL* ), and the source is careful to caution the reader about the weak- ness of the data. The curve for real wages is flat from 1300 to 1800 (the period when I estimate $27.66 per person per week), then rises to eight times as high in 1980 while I only arrive at a doubling. We may ask why the economist's figures grow faster than mine, and why neither his nor mine grow faster than they do. The most plausible answer to the first question is that my figures are wrong. (Further checking will test that answer.) But we should also note that economists have usually not given credit for unpaid work: Raising food to eat, not to sell; housework; child rearing; and so on. I believe that material welfare depends on unpaid as well as on paid work, and I may take more account of it than the economists. Also we may wonder whether the late rise in wages results in averaging in some higher-paid workers, managers, etc., who are not included in my estimate. Nevertheless, even if it turns out that the best measure of real wages, or material welfare, grows by a factor of 16 from agriculture to advanced industrial society, that gain is small (ONLY 16:1?) in comparison with the amount of invention, innova- tion, and organization that has been invested. And agriculture looks to be poor in comparison with foraging. So I feel the need for an answer to the second question, whatever mistakes I have made in my calculations. And the only answer I can believe is that increasing popula- tion density has introduced new costs that absorb the products of invention and labor. To force sufficient food from the same Earth as population grows by a factor of 1000 or 10,000, we must be clever and diligent. Shelter, transportation, and communica- tion become more difficult: One house has to be built on top of another, traffic jams intensify, etc. My conclusion is that we have paid dearly, for 10,000 years, for our propensity to breed above replacement rate. Joel Mokyr, whose _Lever of Riches_ (in BIBLNOTE* ) was published after the preliminary edition of this diskbook, says, When the resource base of an economy expands, it can do one of two things: it can enjoy higher living standards, or it can, in H. G. Wells's famous phrase, "spend the gifts of nature on the mere insensate multi- plication of common life." In recent history, economic growth has occurred _despite_ population growth. Before that, as Malthus and the classical political economists never tired of pointing out, the growth of population relentlessly devoured the fruits of produc- tivity growth, and living standards, as far as we can measure them, changed very little in the long run. (p. 7) So my conclusion merely coincides with an old and well-argued line of thought. Since population growth turns out to be a major variable, I add an appendix describing the growth of Earth's population. We should remember, in all of this, that material welfare is only crudely measured in dollars. Electronics comes cheap, and the fee of a good modern physician may not be higher than that of a shaman, however much more effective modern medicine may be in reducing pain and prolonging life. 3.7.2. Secondary Effects The secondary effects of increasing energy flux are diffuse. Furthermore, they are mostly the joint effects of energy increase together with one or more of the primary effects. Let me begin with competition. In a society where energy is scarce and costly, very little travels far between production and consumption. Most goods are offered for sale only within a narrow radius, and within that territory there are few suppliers for many goods. A peasant either shoes his own horses or takes them to the blacksmith in his own village; he does not go to the nearest town. Effectively, the blacksmith has no competitor. In the eighteenth century, the British market for iron was segmented geographically and inter-regional competition hardly occurred (Hyde, p. 48, in InRvBIBL* ). Without railroads, food did not travel far; local famines could occur, and certainly market gardeners did not compete with imported fruits or vegetables. Cheaper energy enlarges market territories and makes possible more competition. Next, new domains of resources become available. Coal could be brought from deeper underground when energy could be applied to pumping water and lifting the coal. Europe could obtain raw materials from overseas colonies; sailing ships sufficed in the beginning, but steamships enlarged the commerce. Energy must be used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors. Will space flight open a new domain of resources? One possibility is that we capture sunlight that does not reach Earth and beam it down; as an alternative to burning fossil fuel, this possibility has merit, but as a supplement it is merely another contributor to global warming. Going further, take longevity. Energy increase aids longev- ity, since there is enough heat to keep everyone warm in cold weather, and eventually to cool them in hot weather. The in- crease in agricultural production yields more food for all, and the increases in production and distrubution yield more varied diets for many. Energy is used to pump the water that carries away excrement from cities, making them cleaner and healthier, but various technologies have to advance to provide the parts of the sewage system. Another secondary effect is education. Having more energy is a necessary condition for widespread education. General advance in technology motivates governments to educate their populations, since -- from the industrial revolution onward -- uneducated workers are inadequate to run the system. Another is change in the criteria for sociopolitical promi- nence. As long as all work is done by human muscle, the only kind of organization is for fighting and, perhaps, ritual. The prominent persons are those skilled in organizing and carrying out combat and rites. Even in rank 2, with beasts of burden, sailing ships, and a few waterwheels, leadership does little more; some leaders may have skill at keeping a community tran- quil, or skill as traders. The higher energy levels of rank 3, and the resulting increase in all sectors of the economy, raise the value of both technology and organization. Persons who can make a factory succeed rise to prominence. Some of them acquire social power. What happens at rank 4 is obscure, but my guess is that gross energy flux--input--will not go up much, net energy flux--output--will increase, and the leadership that achieves this outcome will have somewhat different qualities from those who have been most prominent in western civilization for the last century or two. Finally, for this chapter, a secondary effect of increasing energy flux and efficiency is longer hours of work for most of the population. Ethnographers tell of simple societies in which the average person works 2 hours a day. We went up to 70-80 hour weeks, and fought our way back to 35-40 hour weeks. Why should labor-saving machines induce us to work more? Probably just because they made work useful. Human beings seem voracious, not just for food, warmth, and a dry place to sleep, but for diversi- ty of experience and for aesthetic experience. Psychopathology may be involved somewhat, and in our present condition we may raise demand artificially with advertising and also (for example) by showing affluent homes on television. If 2 hours work a day yields all the food you want, and more work would yield nothing but unwanted food, why work another hour? If an extra hour a day earns the income to buy a fresh experience, a healthy person might decide to do the work even without propaganda or compul- sion. These, and surely many more, secondary effects of energy increase are direct: They happen regardless of higher-order patterns of culture. When higher-order patterns change, they lead to tertiary effects, my next topic. 3.7.3. Tertiary Effects When the quantity of energy that a culture can command goes up by an order of magnitude (coal becomes available) and effi- ciency improves (Watt engine replaces Newcomen), the culture applies that energy to making more goods (cotton). In Europe, people suddenly benefitted from new opportunities: In 1842 "'the cotton mills were in crisis. They were choking to death, as the warehouses were overflowing and there were no buyers. ... Prices fell ... until cotton was selling at six sous ... The sound of six sous seemed to act as a trigger. Millions of buyers ... who had never bought [textiles] before, began to stir. ... And the result was a major, though little remarked revolution in France, a revolution in cleanliness and the suddenly improved appearance of the poor home ... [Linen] was now possessed by whole classes who had never had any since the world began.'" Michelet, _Le Peuple_, 1899:73-74, quoted FBCC* 2:183 Thus the primary effects. Order of magnitude changes seem to result from positive feedback loops. Steam-driven pumps facilitate mining; cheaper coal means cheaper iron; cheaper iron means more machines; and some of the machines are used to mine and move the coal, so coal gets even cheaper and around we go. Along the way, new systems come in (railroads) that trigger new loops: The railroads needed enough iron to bring the price down for all uses. Plentiful energy (relative to earlier levels), in combina- tion with all the changes that result immediately, changes the nature of work. Almost everyone was a farmer before the indus- trial revolution; almost everyone was a hunter or gatherer before the agricultural revolution. Beasts of burden may have made possible the concentration of people in towns and cities (al- though the American proto-civilizations did not have beasts of burden; food was brought in by human porters). Steam-powered machines needed a new kind of worker, one who could understand instructions. Ernest Gellner* writes that Work, in industrial society, does not mean moving matter. The paradigm of work is no longer ploughing, reaping, thrashing. Work, in the main, is no longer the manipulation of things, but of meanings." (pp. 32-33) Apprenticeship is not an adequate preparation for that kind of work: "... the major part of training in industrial society is generic training ... its educational system is ... the least specialized ..." (p. 27) Gellner believes that the need for workers with primary education led to the formation of homogeneous cultures over wide areas: If the kids must be taught, the teachers must be trained, and the trainers must have professorial education (p. 34). The educa- tional system as a whole cannot be small. Thus secondary effects. All of which changes the way people think. I remind you of the higher-order patterns that determine reality: Medieval Europe: Essence and ultimacy Modern west: Matter and causality Alchemy, a medieval discipline, devoted itself to understanding substances as manifestations of the godhead. Chemistry, a modern western discipline, wants to know what reactions the elements enter into. Alchemy explains events by reference to the ultimate proper state of the substance; chemistry, by reference to local and immediate causal events. Experience in life and laboratory after 1500 were _unreal_ to the medieval higher-order pattern. It tried to stop the world, but failed; whereupon it died. People who grew up without committing themselves to the old pattern, outsiders perhaps, arrived at the new pattern of causality and taught it. Thus tertiary effects. Are we experiencing tertiary effects of a new burst of energy today? We certainly are. Petroleum is not a very good source of energy until it is cracked, and cracking is beyond the capacity of rank 3 chemistry (I judge). Gasoline could only become plentiful when better thinking produced subtler processes of conversion. In turn, gasoline yielded more energy more efficiently than coal, in more compact unit systems--automo- biles, in particular. Mobility went up. Electricity is a good form for the distribution of energy, since no mass has to be conveyed to the point of use. But electricity is an obscure topic to a rank 3 thinker. It seems to me that telegraphy, with its dot-dash code, is just possible for rank 3 thought, but that the telephone, with its analogue of speech as a waveform, is well up on the growth curve toward rank 4. So electricity enhances communication, and facilitates the distribution of energy to hand tools in factories, farms, and homes. And so we come to the computer. The experiences of modern humanity, in life and laboratory, are _unreal_ to anyone whose highest-order pattern is causality. Life in the large has always been too complex for causal explana- tion, but by now what goes on around us, on the most immediate and obvious level, is too complex for causal explanation. More happens; we see further; and the time intervals between connected events are shorter. We need a new higher-order pattern, and we do not have one. So we flail around. The new pattern, if it emerges, may involve cybernetics (feedback loops), nonlinear systems (chaos, Prigogine's dissipative structures), maybe more. Only it hasn't crystallized anywhere that I know of. For the essence-and-ultimacy thinker, slavery is a natural state, the _ultimate_ condition of a person who is in _essence_ a slave. For the causal thinker, slavery is the result of some- thing that may or may not be identifiable; all men are created equal, and human actions can give or withhold their chance for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Rank 3 thinkers look for the causes of war. I wonder whether rank 4 thinkers will despise that view as much as we despise the view that some men are natural slaves? Perhaps, with a new higher-order pattern, they will reject war as our 19th century ancestors rejected slavery. Coda: The tertiary effects of energy increase cannot be separated from the tertiary effects of any other aspect of rank shift. At the tertiary level, all aspects of rankshift are involved in such an intricate network of feedback loops that they are all involved in each outcome. 3.A. Appendix: Population Growth The fact of population growth is well known. The next screen shows numbers from several sources: Campbell* (Table 12.5, p. 397); McEvedy & Jones; and Kennedy ( PREP21* ). Similar numbers are given by Braudel ( FBCC* 1:33, 1:46-47). Population at the end of the Palaeolithic is estimated as 3-5 M by Hassan (1975), Dumond (1975), Deevey (1960), and Braidwood & Reed (1957 in AGRIBIBL* ) but in a later book (1981) Hassan raises that to 8-9 M. Coale puts population 2 Kya at 200 M. (See POPLBIBL* ) In the next screen, Mya = Million years ago; Kya = thousand years ago (2 Kya = AD 1); and population is given in millions (M). ESTIMATES OF THE POPULATION OF EARTH 1 Mya Paleolithic begins 0.125 M Deevey 100 Kya Homo sapiens appears 1.7 M McEvedy 25 Kya End of tool-use rise 3 M Deevey 12 Kya End Palaeolithic 2-9 M See below 5 Kya Primary cycle begins 2 Kya Agriculture 200 M Campbell 2 Kya Primary cycle ends 190 M McEvedy AD 500 Medieval cycle begins 1200 Medieval cycle ends 360 M McEvedy 1600 Literate age 500 M Campbell 1800 Industrialization cycle begins 900 M McEvedy 1860 Industrial age 1000 M Campbell 1940 Nuclear age begins 2300 M Campbell 1965 4400 M Campbell 1990 5300 M UN 2025 8500 M UN 2100 10000 M World Bank 2200 Modernization cycle ends 8250 M McEvedy Deevey (1960) suggested that fastest population growth occurred in three revolutionary periods, when something new had appeared in culture; each rapid rise was followed by a period of approximately stable population. The first rise followed the introduction of tools, -1m to -25k, pop. 125 K to 3 M. Campbell and McEvedy & Jones also note periods of rapid growth. Of course, the periods of rapid population growth correspond to rankshifts. The first is the shift from rank 0 to rank 1; the next is the shift from rank 1 to rank 2, when population growth was centered around the eastern end of the Mediterranean. Then, mostly between AD 1000 and AD 1200 ( McEvedy & Jones 347) Europe rose again from rank 1 to rank 2. Another period of rapid growth came as the shift from rank 2 to rank 3 approached completion. What seems to have happened now is that the rank-3 rise spread from a few small regions to the whole Earth after World War II; there was no plateau, just a change from a high rate of growth for the sapient population--mixing higher rates in some areas and lower rates in others--to a higher rate when the slow- growth regions began to grow rapidly. Think of it this way: Some 5-10 Kya, the population of Earth was on the order of magnitude of 1-10 M (and if you want a more precise number, please remember that the data are not very good). At that time, Earth was _full_ of sapients; gathering plants and hunting animals, they needed all of Earth's high- quality territory to flourish. By 1800, the population of Earth was about 1000 M. That is to say, Earth's sapient population increased by a factor of 100 to 1000. Only technological prog- ress can explain the _possibility_ of providing sustenance for a thousand times as many sapients in the same territory (or in a territory only slightly larger). From the fact that Earth was full when agriculture first began, and the fact that agriculture began in several widely separated places at about the same time, Nathan Mark Cohen concluded that agriculture was the sapient response to a food crisis. (See also Harner 1970.) Cohen's 1977 book is often cited and his ideas debated; I allow some truth to his position, but sapients can respond to food crises in other ways: Avoid procreation (this is the method that Handwerker* considers most common); kill or neglect infants; kill one another in combat. (Disasters also hold down population growth somewhat.) Remember, until a short time ago periods of rapid rise were separated by long periods of level population. It is possible for those who live to adulthood to live satisfactory lives, eating adequately, in a territory just adequate to their needs given their technolo- gy. (References in AGRIBIBL* .) My reading of the simultaneity that Cohen emphasizes is that the cognitive requirements for rankshift took about the same length of time everywhere. Starting (as I suppose) from a common origin, sapients spread over Earth, and by blind variation and selective retention arrived, in various places, and cultures that could give birth to rank 2 thought. The process may be slowed a little by migration; in the Americas, most remote from the place of origin, agriculture came somewhat later. Population growth follows rankshift, then, because sapients tend to raise as many children as circumstances permit. If the question is whether the adults or the children will eat, the answer is that the adults eat and the children die. But if the food supply is enough for all, the children grow up and the population increases. It seems to me, however, that the mechanisms of analysis and decision available to rank 1 and rank 2 do not guarantee that the population will remain small enough for progress in technology to bring improved welfare. Rank 3 populations have often reduced their rates of procreation. Everyone talks about this phenomenon, and everyone has an explanation: Desire for more goods, for more education and a better job, alienation, or the lower economic value of children in industrial life. The simplest explanation, in my opinion, would be that rank 3 sapients think more effectively about the long-term consequences of their actions.
[Mind-Culture Coevolution Home] [Tech Evol Contents]
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