Notes on Malm’s Fosil Capitalism
- This is something I’ve wondered about a lot: in a certain sense, climate change is the perfect moral storm (as this book). Short-term benefits are reaped by a generation that passes on the long-term harm to the future. For example: heatwaves now are a consecuence of sustained emissions in the past so far. In that sense, it’s a form of “slow violence”, says Malm, and he quotes Marx: “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living”.
- So far what is clearer from this book is that power as energy isn’t as indistinguishable from power in sociological terms. They both inform and affect each other - in fact, the strongest change the steam power machine introduced was a complete overhaul of labour relationships.
- Carbon was never about energy. Carbon was an emancipation from manual labor, a question of steady production free from the paralizing strikes the XIX centure UK. In this sense, it was a way to neutralize worker power by automatization. As a programmer, parallelisms are unavoidable (this book inspired this quick parallel note).
- Any energy transition will have to escape the laws of capitalistic competition.
It’s a book full of insights worth every bit of density it has. I fully recommend.