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Appreciating the Master Resource (Part I: Energy Friends)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 17, 2011

Energy is ubiquitous to modern industrial life. It is the fourth factor of production in addition to the textbook triad of land, labor, and capital. Julian Simon coined the term master resource to describe the resource of resources, energy.

Energy as been recognized as a unique driver of economic activity and human betterment for almost two centuries–about as long as carbon-based energies came to be recognized as a sea change from the inherently dilute, unreliable renewable energies of before. The Industrial Revolution was enabled by coal, the energy required by the new machinery, as W. S. Jevons so brilliantly saw in his day.

The quotations below, some classic, resonate as well or better today than ever before. They are as ‘right” as the peak-oil quotations (compiled here and here) have been wrong.…