In 1976, geologist Earl Cook observed that, Throughout history there has been a fairly close correlation between the forms and amount of energy available to man, the forms of his society, and the size of his communities [1]. Cook is not alone in his view. In 1943, anthropologist Leslie White stated what he called the law of cultural evolution. Simply put, other things being equal, the degree of cultural development varies in correlation with the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year and/or the efficiency with which useful work is extracted from it [2].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5571929
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Historical trends in global energy consumption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this