Weaving together findings from a wide range of disciplines, Power traces how four key elements developed to give humans extraordinary power: tool making ability, language, social complexity, and the ability to harness energy sources – most significantly, fossil fuels. It asks whether we have, at this point, overpowered natural and social systems, and if we have, what we can do about it.
Has Homo sapiens – one species among millions – become powerful enough to threaten a mass extinction and disrupt the Earth’s climate? Why have we developed so many ways of oppressing one another? Can we change our relationship with power to avert ecological catastrophe, reduce social inequality, and stave off collapse?
These questions – and their answers – will determine our fate.