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The "efficiency" of gross centralisation is entirely based on ultra-cheap energy

What makes you think that centralisation is, in general, less energy-efficient than decentralisation?

Centralisation allows you to take advantage of economies of scale (such as running a furnace 24/7, thus saving the energy required to re-heat it after cooling down overnight), and it makes the distance you need to ship intermediate goods much shorter.

Further, centralisation allows you to organise your production around energy sources and modes of transportation that require expensive infrastructure to work - which is the case for almost all sustainable energy sources and almost all modes of transportation powered by sustainable energy sources.

Centralisation also enables a much more fine-grained division of labour, which enables organised knowledge and technology to be brought to bear on the production process in much greater detail. So it is less than perfectly clear that centralisation is always less energy efficient than decentralisation.

The fact that these advantages have in the past been used to optimise production for man-hour efficiency at the expense of energy efficiency does not necessarily mean that this is how they will be used in an energy-constrained economy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 7th, 2010 at 12:33:18 PM EST
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