Wealth is embodied energy. Traditionally we have taken solar energy in plants, animals, and fossil fuels, and gravitational energy in minerals, water and thermal heat, and turned it into products. We have “value added” and our wealth reflects the energy we transformed. We are wealthier than past generations, and this is seen in the captured energy in our schools, hospitals, transport systems, information systems, and other physical infrastructures.
We have invented processes to stablise energy, in basic banking, in ways to trade goods and extend the shelf-life of foods. We also gain wealth by transforming the energy in ourselves into services. This capture and transforming of energy has created wealth from the earliest primitive man to today’s modern global societies.
It explains our core belief that the environment is important, and our difficulty in understanding the financial markets, where money is a traded commodity and speculation is a non-energy transforming process.