Economic Growth and Energy Consumption - Research Article from Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy

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Energy as an Input to Production

What makes energy and economic growth go hand-in-hand? Traditionally, economists since Adam Smith have discussed the major inputs to economic activity as being land, labor, and capital. While very descriptive of the agrarian economies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the growth of industrial nations in the nineteenth century can be seen in retrospect to have been the result of a fourth major input, energy. Energy can be seen simply as the ability to multiply the work of laborers exponentially. Where the agrarian society had to make use of horses and mules for transportation services, the industrial economy could take advantage of the miracle of the internal combustion engine, which, when powered by gasoline, could lower the costs and increase the availability of transportation by orders of magnitude. Where once laborers did their jobs with scythes, shovels, and other...

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This section contains 1,762 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
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Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy
Economic Growth and Energy Consumption from Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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