Now, the sudden accession of capital in the form of these vast coalfields put mankind in a fever of exploitation: coal and iron were the pivots upon which the other functions of society revolved. The activities of the nineteenth century were consumed by a series  of rushes – the gold rushes, the iron rushes, the copper rushes, the petroleum rushes, the diamond rushes. The animus of mining affected the entire economic and social organism: this dominant mode of exploitation became the pattern for subordinate forms of industry. The reckless, get-rich-quick, devil-take-the-hindmost attitude of the mining rushes spread everywhere: the bonanza farms of the Middle West in the United States were exploited as if they were mines, and the forests were gutted out and mined in the same fashion as the minerals that lay in their hills. Mankind behaved like a drunken heir on a spree. And the damage to form and civilization through the prevalence of these new habits of disorderly exploitation and wasteful expenditure remained, whether or not the source of energy itself disappeared. The psychological results of carboniferous capitalism-the lowered morale, the expectation of getting something for nothing, the disregard for a balanced mode of production and consumption, the habituation to wreckage and debris as part of the normal human environment-all these results were plainly mischievous. (Mumford 1934:157-8)
MUMFORD, Lewis. 1934. Technique and civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.