The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality
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Economists insist that recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments stagger under record deficits. The End of Growth proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. The expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits.
Richard Heinberg’s latest landmark work goes to the heart of the ongoing financial crisis, explaining how and why it occurred, and what we must do to avert the worst potential outcomes. Written in an engaging, highly readable style, it shows why growth is being blocked by three factors:
- Resource depletion
- Environmental impacts
- Crushing levels of debt
These converging limits will force us to re-evaluate cherished economic theories and to reinvent money and commerce.
The End of Growth describes what policy makers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth’s budget of energy and resources. We can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than continuing to pursue the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding GDP.
Richard Heinberg is the author of nine previous books, including The Party's Over, Peak Everything, and Blackout. A senior fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, Heinberg is one of the world's foremost peak oil educators and an effective communicator of the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels.
it. The economic crisis that began in 2007–2008 was both foreseeable and inevitable, and it marks a permanent, fundamental break from past decades — a period during which most economists adopted the unrealistic view that perpetual economic growth is necessary and also possible to achieve. There are now fundamental barriers to ongoing economic expansion, and the world is colliding with those barriers. This is not to say the US or the world as a whole will never see another quarter or year of
that the world will run out of wild seafood by 2048 if steep declines in marine species continue at current rates. They noted that as of 2003, 29 percent of all fished species had collapsed, meaning they were at least 90 percent below their historic maximum catch levels. The rate of population collapses continues to accelerate. The lead author of the group’s report, Boris Worm, was quoted as saying, “We really see the end of the line now. It’s within our lifetime. Our children will see a world
Where prior investments have been made in efficient transport infrastructure and resilient food systems, people will be better off as a result. To the degree that energy efficiency helps us adapt to a shrinking economy and more expensive energy, it will be essential to our survival and well being. The sooner we invest in efficient ways of meeting our basic needs the better, even if it entails short-term sacrifice. However, to hope that efficiency will produce a continuous reduction in energy
Nevertheless, he doesn’t believe that the government of Hu Jintao, the Communist Party leader and president, and Prime Minister Wen will allow a crash to occur before its term in office ends in 2012 — local governments are too dependent on the real estate boom. According to Cao, Beijing will go to “any expense” to pump money into the financial system and spur a renewed surge of rapid economic growth.15 Once Hu and Wen are gone, however, it will be up to their successors to deal with the fallout
housing market, reliance on overly complex and in many cases fraudulent financial instruments, and skyrocketing energy prices. Another sovereign debt crisis in Europe could bring the world to a similar precipice. Indeed, there is a line-up of actors waiting to take center stage in the years ahead, each capable of bringing the curtain down on the global banking system or one of the world’s major currencies. Each derives its destructive potency from its ability to strangle growth, thus setting off