By Matthew T. Huber
Having a look past the standard culprits, Lifeblood unearths a deeper and extra complicated clarification in daily practices of oil intake in American tradition. Matthew T. Huber makes use of oil to retell American political historical past from the triumph of recent Deal liberalism to the increase of the recent correct, from oil’s get together because the lifeblood of postwar capitalism to expanding anxieties over oil habit.
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Additional info for Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital
75 This is not simply a historical relic of the industrial revolution but is rather an ongoing process toward more and more automation of productive processes formerly driven by muscular or other forms of living human power. 76 Yet if an automatic form of production does not rely on human or animal muscle power, it must obtain energy from somewhere. Indeed, much of the early industrial revolution in Britain and the United States was T H E P O W E R O F O I L? 78 With coal-ﬁred steam engines, capital could move beyond the restricted geographies of river systems—which were not only located in ﬁxed spaces but also froze during the winter—and gain the power of spatial concentration in urban industrial districts.
With its most perfect sociospatial expression found in the United States, the resurrection of capital in the twentieth century was achieved through a material and technical transformation of the geographies of everyday life and social reproduction for a speciﬁc stratum of workers. Given that capitalist production depends on the control over the labor process and access to a pool of workers who only survive through waged commodity relations, it is possible to restructure the conditions of reproduction—workers’ actual lives outside the workplace—without fundamentally alerting those basic preconditions of capitalist production.
Fossil fuels are ﬁrst and foremost about sociotechnical relations of the power to transform nature, or what Marx referred to as the productive forces. As many have pointed out,48 the rise of fossilfuel-powered industry represents an important historical break from solar-powered societies primarily driven by human and animal muscles (and, to a lesser extent, wind and water power) toward social formations drawing from immense reservoirs of nonliving fossilized energy to power machines. Through this shift from living to nonliving productive forces, fossil fuel powers an epochal break in both the temporalities and spatialities of material life.
Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital by Matthew T. Huber