" />
Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Richard Heinberg and the limits to growth

A recent video, scripted and narrated by Richard Heinberg and based on his book "The End of Growth"

Heinberg's thesis is that the end of growth has started in 2008 and that the so called "recovery" is only a sleight of hand to mask, for a while, the unavoidable decline. Among many interesting considerations, the video contains a reference to the 1972 book "The Limits to Growth" (see it at minute 2.10) which is described as having been "attacked by mainstream economists using nasty rhetorical tricks."

It seems that we are seeing, finally, the gradual death of the old legend that has that "The Limits to Growth" was just a set of "wrong predictions" invented by a group of lunatic scientists. We are beginning to understand that the study never made the mistakes that critics attributed to it; it is only the result of those "nasty rhetorical tricks" played out in the 1970s and 1980s.

Now, if the end of growth started in 2008, as Heinberg says, it is a stunning success for "The Limits to Growth" study and, in particular, for the "base case" scenario that generated the start of the decline of the industrial system within the first two decades of the 21st century. Exact "predictions" never were the objective of the study and the ongoing crisis may not necessarily be the end of the cycle that started with the industrial revolution, more than two centuries ago. Nevertheless, it is impressive that the authors of the study had understood, already in 1972, how a combination of resource depletion and accumulation of persistent pollution was going to slow dawn, and then reverse, the economic growth of the world's economy. It is, clearly, the phenomenon that we are seeing today and that Heinberg describes.

On this point, you may also see my book "The Limits to Growth Revisited".

Editorial Notes: YouTube is slow at the moment (at least on my system). If the video doesn't display or play right away, you may want to try later. Ugo Bardi is right to point out that much of the analysis about peak oil and resource constraints comes from "The Limits to Growth" published almost 40 years ago (Wikipedia entry). -BA

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.

Tags:  

Change Everything or Face A Global Katrina

For me, the road to This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate …

Top 10 Reasons to Read “Vermont Dollars, Vermont Sense

Whether or not you live in Vermont this new handbook presents 28 specific …

Anxiety turns to fear: Markets, energy, Pan and the Zeitgeist

The characteristic feeling of the post-2008 world has been one of anxiety. …

Alternatives to Capitalism

It is said that capitalism believes in competition but hates competitors. …

Own a Home in Just Four Years? This Co-Op Program Keeps Workers in the Neighborhood

Alex Cedeño quit renting two years ago. Now, he has just two years …

Co-operatives Need to Confront Climate Chaos

The challenges for 2015 are the same ones we've failed as a movement to find …

Making Sense of the Sudden Market Plunge

The global deflationary wave we have been tracking since last fall is …