Re: I think another powerful force ... is urbanization
I was looking at the fire protection systems in some new luxury apartments in Sydney, overlooking Darling Harbour.
In the penthouses, cooking stuff amounted to a small fridge, a microwave oven, and a small sink and dishwasher. No cooktop, no stove.
I've referred to our serfdom for decades now, and my family are starting to beleive me (it's a start).
Currently, the U.S. food production uses FIVE TIMES as much energy as the calorific content of the food that we eat.
We got to the top of the food chain, by gaining more from our food/crops than the energy we expended in making it. We got so good that we could develop cummunities and culture.
We got even better, allowing us towns, and eventually cities.
Then we "discovered" oil.
and famine can be turned on and off at will (if they will it)
Liberate \'em all
and let God sort \'em out.