As fossil fuels deplete, what happens to capitalist political economies they support? This book examines a new theory for understanding energy, social reproduction and capitalism.


Modern civilization and the social reproduction of capitalism are bound inextricably with fossil fuel consumption. But as carbon energy resources become scarcer, what implications will this have for energy-intensive modes of life? Can renewable energy sustain high levels of accumulation?? Or will we witness the end of existing capitalist economies?This book provides an innovative and timely study that mobilizes a new theory of capitalism to explain the rise and fall of petro-market civilization. Di Muzio investigates how theorists of political economy have largely taken energy for granted and illuminates how the exploitation of fossil fuels increased the universalization and magnitude of capital accumulation. He then examines the likelihood of renewable resources providing a feasible alternative and asks whether they can beat peak oil prices to sustain food production, health care, science and democracy. Using the capital as power framework, this book considers the unevenly experienced consequences of monetizing fossil fuels for people and the planet.


Energy as a factor of production has been seriously neglected in political economy. In this eye-opening book, 20th century carbon capitalism emerges through lucid histories of England and the US, histories which reveal that power, debt, war, and energy have led to the crises of the 21st century: climate change, permanent war economies, and global environmental destruction. This book will prove an indispensable scholarly navigational tool to understand and act on these crises. Barbara Harriss-White, Oxford University, Oxford University

With Carbon Capitalism, Tim Di Muzio has produced a real tour de force. A carefully researched historical and empirical account of the rise and fall of petro-market civilisation, and a ground-breaking attempt to address the neglect of the foundational importance of energy to our understanding of power in the global political economy. Engaging, theoretically sophisticated and rich in detail, the book is a must read for students, academics and practitioners.
Peter Newell, co-author of Climate Capitalism and author of Globalization & the Environment: Capitalism, Ecology and Power, Professor of International Relations, University of Sussex

In this path breaking and carefully researched study Tim Di Muzio throws a spotlight on the linkage between fossil fuel energy and capitalism. Challenging both mainstream and critical theories of international political economy, he argues that carbon is not simply a key commodity with geopolitical implications, but ineluctably connected to the power relations and social reproduction of the contemporary world order. Alan Cafruny, Hamilton College

Table of Contents

Preface / Chapter 1. Carbon Capitalism and Petro-Market Civilization / Chapter 2. The Political Economy of Petro-Market Civilization / Chapter 3. The Birth of Petro-Market Civilization in Britain / Chapter 4. The Expansion of Petro-Market Civilization in the United States / Chapter 5. Global Carbon Capitalism / Conclusion. The Post-Carbon Era and the General Crisis of Social Reproduction / Bibliography / Index

Author Bio

Tim Di Muzio is a Lecturer in the School of History and Politics at the University of Wollongong. He has published in highly esteemed journals and is editor of The Capitalist Mode of Power (2013).