The End of Coal

My name is Daniel Lombardi and I am seeking support for a multi-year project to document the daily lives of families intricately tied to a vanishing industry. My work will take place primarily in the winter seasons in the American West. Contact me with any comments or questions: 406-560-5843 &

Market forces, regulation and automation are all closing coal power stations years and decades ahead of schedule. In the end, thousands of people will lose their jobs and entire towns will disappear. This will be seen as a pivotal moment in world history and we are obligated to document it.

Humanity is destined to shift away from unsustainable fossil fuels that pollute the air and alter the climate. On average the world will be more prosperous without the burning of fossil fuels. But some will suffer through this transition.

In the broad view of history economists look back and call this process “Creative Destruction.” That is, economic growth is messy and often, or always, comes at the expense of a few. Cox and Alm explain it well in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:

Herein lies the paradox of progress. A society cannot reap the rewards of creative destruction without accepting that some individuals might be worse off, not just in the short term, but perhaps forever. At the same time, attempts to soften the harsher aspects of creative destruction by trying to preserve jobs or protect industries will lead to stagnation and decline, short-circuiting the march of progress... ...capitalism’s pain and gain are inextricably linked. The process of creating new industries does not go forward without sweeping away the preexisting order.

All content created by Daniel Lombardi. Copyright 2017.