The limits of growth, are we there yet?

The limits of growth, are we there yet?

By Carmelo Ruiz Marrero *

Much controversy caused the document, much was written for and against. In outlets like the New York Times and Newsweek, economists thundered against The Limits to Growth, while environmentalists celebrated. More than 40 years after its publication, a team from the University of Melbourne in Australia led by Professor Graham Turner analyzed the data presented in the Meadows report and compared it with current data from UNESCO, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Nations (FAO), the North American scientific agency NOAA, energy statistics from the oil transnational BP, and other sources. After studying the correlation between the data used in The Limits to Growth and current data, the Australian team found that Meadows and Co. were right and that their prediction of the fate of humanity if it did not change course (business as usual). has full force.

Under this scenario, the global economy and planetary ecosystems would collapse, making it impossible to sustain the current world population, which would be drastically reduced to a fraction of what it is today in a matter of a few decades, presumably due to hunger, disease and violence.

The 1972 document predicted that the final collapse of human civilization would begin in the years 2015-2030.

The economic degrowth proposal is more urgent than ever. Ecological economics postulates that there cannot be infinite growth in a finite system, in other words we cannot have a growing global economy on a planet that is not growing - it is simply an impossibility from the point of view of thermodynamics. Progressives cannot engage in a sterile debate about what is more important, if the fair redistribution of wealth or stopping economic growth. Economic justice and the defense of ecology must go hand in hand.

Otherwise we go straight to the gloomy scenario that The Limits to Growth warned us about. * Ruiz Marrero is a Puerto Rican author, investigative journalist, and environmental educator.

He is the founder and moderator of the progressive ecologist blog Hajando Punto En Otro Blog ( and the Monitor de Energía y Ambiente de América Latina ( Her identity on Twitter is @carmeloruiz.

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Video: Are We There Yet? 8920 Session (August 2021).