Capital and Carbon: The Shifting Common Good Justification of Energy Regimes

Thomas D. Beamish & Nicole Woolsey Biggart (2017)

In Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond & Bernard Leca (ed.), Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 52) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.173 – 205.

Abstract. This article traces the regimes of worth that defined energy for centuries as a productive force of human and animal labor, an understanding that transformed in the 18th century to an “industrial-energy” regime of worth supporting an economy of mass production, consumption, and profit and more recently one centered on market forces and price. Industrial and market energy and the conventions and institutions that support them are currently in a period of discursive and material ferment; they are being challenged by different higher order principles of worth. We discuss eight emergent energy justifications that argue what kind of energy is – and is not – in the best interests of society.