Part 1 of 3 of an update to Richard Heinberg’s 2011 book The End of Growth: Adapting to our New Economic Reality.
In The End of Growth, published in September 2011, I made the observation that world economic expansion, which has been barreling along for the past few decades, is now stalling. The book further claimed that this is not an outcome we can prevent; we can only choose whether and how to adapt. I argued that economic contraction is inevitable at some point since we are already over-using most of Earth’s important resources, and that limits to debt and to affordable oil supplies, along with worsening environmental disasters, are conspiring to bring about the reversal roughly now (i.e., this decade). Some countries will do better than others, and temporary partial recoveries are possible. But for the foreseeable future, contraction—not growth—will be the norm.