" />
Building a world of
resilient communities.



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!  

Make connections via our GROUPS page.
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.


Loosening the grip of oligarchy

...the next political phase of the campaign started by Occupy is now …

It’s Money that is Killing the Local Economy

A recent report on local currency and local economy from Sweden, complied by …

From Bitcoin to Beets

The recent collapse of Mt. Gox and the “inconvenience,” in its …

Piketty in Washington: How to Reverse the Increasing Concentration of Wealth

One of Piketty’s main concerns is the increasing concentration of …

Simply calling the US an oligarchy is not enough

It’s not every day that an academic article in the arcane world of …

The New Economic Events Giving Lie to the Fiction That We Are All Selfish, Rational Materialists

Jeremy Rifkin's new book, “The Zero Marginal Cost Society,” …

Millennials and the Slave Economy

Similarities abound between today’s declining civic ethos and mid …