Chapter

A New Civilization

Vaclav Smil

in Creating the Twentieth Century

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195168747
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835522 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195168747.003.0006
A New Civilization

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Pre-WWI technical advances have created economies and societies whose abundance of material possessions, rates of energy consumption, and overall tempo of life were entirely unprecedented. Both the fundamental infrastructures of modern life and countless everyday actions rest on enduring artifacts and ubiquitous innovations of the Age of Synergy. Mechanization of virtually all productive tasks led to mass production and both were made possible by steadily rising combustion of fossil fuels and generation of electricity. They brought new economic arrangements (including powerful multinational companies) as well as new forms of leisure.

Keywords: material possessions; energy consumption; tempo of life; mechanization; mass production; fossil fuels; electricity; companies; leisure

Chapter.  17073 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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