Having developed the Dymaxion Map of the world, Fuller mapped data onto it, in the form of energy statistics, to produce his World Energy Map. This introduced his concept of the energy slave.

One can calculate the average amount of mechanical work performed by a person per year. The annual energy consumption from fuels and waterpower yields a certain amount of work done given a mean efficiency rate. Dividing this figure by the first, we obtain the number of man-year equivalents of work done. These units of work done for man by machines were named "energy slaves". (Dymaxion World, p.52)

Dividing this number by the number of people on Spaceship Earth, gave a figure (in 1950) of 38 energy slaves per person. Fuller plotted the distribution of energy slaves on his map to show that, for instance, each North American had 347 energy slaves at his disposal, whereas each Central American had virtually none.

Using family units, a historical comparison can also be made: in 1820 in America there was an average of one human slave per family, whereas in 1950 each family had an average of 1735 energy slaves. Fuller attributed this difference to scientific design competence rather than political democracy (Dymaxion World, p.53).



Paul Taylor 2001