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.
derivatives are another story. A derivative is an agreement between two parties that has a value that is determined by the price movement of something else (called the underlying). The underlying can consist of stock shares, a currency, or an interest rate, to cite three common examples. Since a derivative can be placed on any sort of security, the scope of possible derivatives is nearly endless. Derivatives can be used either to deliberately acquire risk (and increase potential profits) or to
half in coming decades. Current prices for phosphate rock are about twice the level in 2006. The Soil Association report notes that, “When demand for phosphate fertilizer outstripped supply in 2007/08, the price of rock phosphate rose 800 percent.” Phosphate is essential and non-substitutable; therefore demand is inelastic. In 2009, 67 percent of rock phosphate was mined in just three countries — China (35 percent), the US (17 percent), and Morocco and Western Sahara (15 percent). China has now
Invested (EROI). The dotted lines represent the real oil price averaged over both recessions and expansions during the period from 1970 through 2008. EROI data for oil sands come from Murphy and Hall, the EROI values for both Saudi Crude and ultradeep water were interpolated from other EROI data in Murphy and Hall, data on the EROI of average global oil production are from Gagnon et al., and the data on the cost of production come from Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Source: Adapted from
post-growth world. In World War II, auto assembly plants in the US could be quickly re-purposed to produce tanks and planes for the war effort; today, when we need auto factories to make electric railroad locomotives and freight/ passenger cars, the transition will be much more difficult because machines as well as workers are much more narrowly specialized. Moreover, dependence on global systems of trade and transport will leave many communities vulnerable if needed tools, products, materials,
in the US economy will shift public opinion toward wanting to restrict immigration and population growth. Every survey since the 1940s has shown that a majority of Americans favors reducing immigration, yet during that time legal immigration has quadrupled (it doubled during Bush I and again during Bush II). Much of the support for liberalizing immigration policy has come from the Democratic party (in its calculus, more immigrants mean more Democrats), as well as from the construction industry