The year 1968 is frequently associated, for us French, to a joyous mess that happened within the working class and the student world, and which is supposed to have generated a decisive change in the way we look at the world. Actually, 30 years after, one might be doubtful of it : among those that shouted the loudest against the "consumption society" and wanted to overthrow the "established order" at the time, a large number have now become fervent supporters of both !
But it is also possible to associate this year to the creation of a body that will "make a lot of noise" a couple of years later, even if its birth did not raise so much attention : the Club of Rome. At the moment of its creation, it gathered a handful of people, holding quite important positions in their respective countries (a german university rector, a director at the OECD, a vice-president of Olivetti, a special advisor to the japanese government…), that wished that serious scientific works be done on the evolution of the world to try to grasp the limits to growth.
It is nevertheless not in 1968 that the famous "report" was published, but a couple of years later, in 1972, and it is not the members of the Club of Rome that wrote it, but a team of research workers from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (or MIT) that was constituted specially on this occasion, following a request by the Club of Rome. It would therefore be more accurate – and fair – to name that report currently designed as "report of the Club of Rome" by its true name : the Meadows & al. report (after the name of the person heading the team, Dennis Meadows). This report is composed of a synthesis report, showing the main results of the work that was done, and on which I try to make a couple of comments below, and various annexes.
What was there in this famous report ?