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The article illustrates the historical patterns of energy use and social and economic development as a context for informing contemporary trends. It will begin with a timeline of human population estimates and the associated energy sources and quantities harnessed. It will then explore the social and economic impacts of two technology waves that were instrumental in shaping the modern developed world: agriculture and industrialization. In these sections, energy trends associated with food and industrial output will be investigated. Finally, the paper will attempt to discover whether a correlation exists between per capita energy consumption and human well-being. The overarching theme throughout will be one of allowing the past to inform the future. An analytical understanding of the historical co-evolutionary patterns can inform the choices made in the present to better manage future trajectories.
Date of Publication: Fall 2010