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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Limits To Growth Vindicated

In 1972, a shocking best-seller, The Limits To Growth, revealed to the world that growth on a finite planet would soon come to an end. A famous chart in the book showed that the end times were coming:


In the forty years since that chart was published, the projections have been proven correct. While the deniers try to deny the projections and construct a fantasy that it is a global conspiracy, those curves have turned out to be amazingly accurate—the Earth is a finite planet (surprise!) and we are definitely running out of resources. And, as you can see from the chart, we are running out of time to change the future.

We are now running into those limits. Evidence for this collision with reality comes from the financial crisis. Jobs were destroyed and aren't coming back. Short term fixes which had worked in the past failed to re-energize the world economy. Even the breakneck Chinese growth miracle stuttered and fell back. Government pumped up housing and stock market bubbles, but only created deflation when those artificial, fiat money bubbles burst. Commodities soared in price, but fell hard and failed to recover back to their old highs.

As you can see from the chart, we have several more years of hitting those limits to growth. Each one will add to the headwinds facing human civilization.