While it is true that Economic ‘growth as we have known it is over and done with’ as Richard Heinberg states below, it is important to recognise that in the resource constrained future we face, growth is possible within the limitations of the ‘First Law of Sustainability’ – that – goods and services can only grow at the rate at which their ‘Resource Intensity’ can be reduced beyond that needed to balance the ‘One Planet Equation’; see tab above.
Viewing our position this way gives us a clear focus on the actions we must take
- Reduce the resource intensity of non-essential processes to zero – eliminate them
- Work to continually reduce the resource intensity of those essential processes remaining by improving the ‘Quality’ of their creation, use and disposal.
The End of Growth
Posted Nov 12, 2010 by Richard Heinberg
This article is an excerpt from Richard’s new book which has the working title ‘The End of Growth’ and is set for publication in July 2011. Given the urgency and fragility of the global economic crisis, we will be serializing the rough content as Richard writes it. Additionally, Richard will be offering ‘live peeks’ at the events and information that inform his writing process through Facebook and Twitter accounts created expressly for this publication.
The article was originally published as the MuseLetter #222
Introduction: The New Normal
The central assertion of this book is both simple and startling: .
The “growth” we are talking about consists of the expansion of the overall size of the economy (with more people being served and more money changing hands) and of the quantities of energy and material goods flowing through 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…………