(group) Some critics of U.S. agriculture argue that highly mechanized production techniques in farming are inefficient because the energy consumed by the machinery used to grow food exceeds the amount of potential energy available in the food that is grown. Does this argument make any sense? Is energy the ultimate measure of value?
Yes, it does. To those critics energy may be the ultimate measure of value. I suspect the author of the book does not, but those critics get to choose for themselves what they value.