November 20, 2015

Average american has energy equivalent of 450 human slaves working 8 hours shifts every day

1 horsepower approximates the sustained work output of a horse
A healthy human can sustain about 0.1 hp indefinitely which is 74.5 watts
1 horsepower is the sustained effort of ten people
1 horse power = 745.6 watts = 33000 ft-lb/min
The average american uses 13,250 kWh/year in electricity
Which is 36 kwh/day
Which is 1512 watts constant
US average per person electrical energy is like 20 human slaves 24 hours per day
60 human slaves on 8 hour shifts 7 days a week


The average american uses 98400 kWh/year in total energy. This includes transportation and heating.
This is 7.4 times the electricity amount.
US average per person total energy is like 150 human slaves 24 hours per day
450 human slaves on 8 hour shifts 7 days a week

The US has about 144 billion human energy slaves on 8 hour shifts 7 days a week


In 2012, the IEA estimated that the world energy consumption was 155,505 terawatt-hour (TWh).

This works out to 17.7 TW.

This is about 237 billion human equivalent energy slaves working 24 hours per day

World energy is 711 billion human equivalent energy slaves on 8 hour shifts 7 days a week



This is why energy was found to have ten times the role in impacting economic growth than its cost.

Energy is ten times more important than its cost

If one foregoes cost-share weighting and determines the output elasticities of capital, labor, energy, and creativity econometrically, one gets for energy economic weights that exceed energyʼs cost share by up to an order of magnitude, and the Solow residual disappears. The production factor energy accounts for most, and creativity for the rest of the growth that neoclassical economics attributes to 'technological progress'.

According to the cost-share theorem, reductions of energy inputs by up to 7%, observed during the first energy crisis 1973–1975, could have only caused output reductions of 0.35%, whereas the observed reductions of output in industrial economies were up to an order of magnitude larger. Thus, from this perspective the recessions of the energy crises are hard to understand. In addition, cost-share weighting of production factors has the problem of the Solow residual. The Solow residual accounts for that part of output growth that cannot be explained by the input growth rates weighted by the factor cost shares. It amounts to more than 50% of total growth in many countries. Standard neoclassical economics attributes the discrepancy between empirical and theoretical growth to what is being called 'technological progress' or, sometimes, 'Manna from Heaven.' The dominating role of technological progress 'has lead to a criticism of the neoclassical model: it is a theory of growth that leaves the main factor in economic growth unexplained', as the founder of neoclassical growth theory, Robert A Solow, stated himself.

New Journal of Physics - How energy conversion drives economic growth far from the equilibrium of neoclassical economics

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