Growth bad uq/Sustainability

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Collapse Inev/Unsustainable

The collapse of growth is inevitable -- biocapacity is insufficient for continued expansion.

Korowicz 11–, physicist and human systems ecologist, the director of The Risk/Resilience Network in Ireland, a board member of FEASTA, The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability. (David “In the world, at the limits to growth,” 5/14/11,

It’s been part of the background noise for over half a century, warnings about resource scarcity, biodiversity loss, soil erosion or climate change. But impacts were always on the imaginative horizon. Sometime, far enough into the future to be re-assuring to a species that evolved with a clear preference for the short-term. Or on the hinterland between our safe European home and the barbarian other, where starvation, environmental disasters, angry mobs and crazy despots have always demanded our attention, at least while on TV. Yes we can! Yes we can! - chanted the posse of teenagers following Al Gore through a pavilion in Poznan, Poland for the annual gathering of climate policy acronyms. When not distracted by the ever-present, we’ve responded to these warnings with treaties and laws, technology and exhortation. Of course, every ecological indicator kept getting worse. And we kept on about treaties and laws, and break-through technologies. Our mythic world-views gave us the shared faith that we may not be there yet, but we could, once a brilliant scheme is in place, a climate law passed, technologies adopted, evil bankers restrained, or once people just realised our predicament. Yes We Can! Yes We Can! Indeed, we could transcend our grubby selfishness and short-termism so we tied together the belief that we could will ecological sustainability and global equity. Still, our resource and environmental sink demands keep increasing, ecological indicators decline and inequality rises. The reality is that we are locked into an economy adapted to growth, and that means rising energy and resource flows and waste. By lock-in, we mean that our ability to change major systems we depend upon is limited by the complexity of interdependencies, and the risk that the change will undermine other systems upon which we depend. So we might wish to change the banking or monetary system, but if the real and dynamic consequences lead to a major bank freeze lasting more than a couple of days we will have major food security risks, massive drops in economic production, and risks to infrastructure. And if we want to make our food production and distribution more resilient to such shocks, production will fall and food prices will need to be higher, which will in the short-to-medium term drive up unemployment, lead to greater poverty, and pose even greater risks to the banking system. It is an oxymoron to say we can do something unsustainable forever. How would you know if we were approaching a limit, the end of growth? By warnings? Listen. By the great and the good, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, saying “Ladies & gentleman we have a really big problem!”? Politicians and civil servants, the IMF and the OECD, all missed the credit crisis of 2007, despite having expertise in the area and an abundant historical literature about asset bubbles. They embody the dogmatism of the age, they are a pivot point about which are world-views are confirmed. They mirror the authority of the court of Pope Urban VIII, stuffed with astronomer-astrologers, the economists of their age, confirming the earth centric universe against Galileo and Copernicus before him. What the Galileos of today are saying is that we are at or near the peak of global oil production now. That as affordable oil declines, the global economy must contract. That we do not have the time, nor resources to keep the economy growing by substituting for oil with efficiency measures, renewable or nuclear energy, or technology. That talk of an electric car future, advanced IT-renewable energy convergent infrastructure, and global super-grids is a fancy. The most obvious problem with focusing on this vision at the horizon is that you don’t see that the ground is opening up beneath your feet. We will not get to that horizon because all the things you need to get there- monetary and financial systems, purchasing power and economies of scale, production systems, infrastructure and global trust networks-will be undermined by the convergence of a peak of global oil production, a peak of food production, and a giant credit bubble. The ground will open up, we will fall, and our visions will fall further and further from our grasp.

Production and consumption are fundamentally unsustainable at current levels -- tech and innovations won’t be able to keep up -- only de-development solves.

Trainer 10- Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the School of Social Work, University of New South Wales. (Ted, "THE LIMITS TO GROWTH PERSPECTIVE: A SUMMARY" 10/20/10,

Our way of life is grossly unsustainable. Our levels of production and consumption are far too high. We can only achieve them because we few in rich countries are grabbing most of the resources produced and therefore depriving most of the world's people of a fair share, and because we are depleting stocks faster than they can regenerate. Because we consume so much we are rapidly using up resources and causing huge ecological damage. It would be impossible for all the world's people to rise to our rich world per capita levels of consumption. Most people have no idea how far we are beyond sustainable levels. Although present levels of production, consumption, resource use and environmental impact are unsustainable we are obsessed with economic growth, i.e., with increasing production and consumption, as much as possible and without limit! Most of the major global problems we face, especially environment, Third World poverty, conflict and social breakdown  are primarily due to this limits problem; i.e., to over-consumption.  (This does not mean over-population is not a serious problem.) Following are some of the main facts and arguments that support the limits to growth position. ·      Rich countries, with about one-fifth of the world's people, are consuming about three quarters of the world's resource production. Our per capita consumption is about 15-20 times that of the poorest half of the world's people. ·      World population will probably stabilise around 9 billion, somewhere after 2060. If all those people were to have present Australian per capita resource consumption, then rates of production of resources would have to be 5 to 10 times as great as they are now. If we tried to rise to those levels of resource output we would completely exhaust all probably recoverable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, tar sand oil, shale oil and uranium (assuming the present "burner" reactors) well before 2050. We would also have exhausted potentially recoverable resources for one third of the mineral items by then. ·      Petroleum is especially limited.  World oil supply will probably peak between 2005 and 2010. ·      If all 9 billion people were to use timber at the rich world per capita rate we would need 3.5 times the world's present forest area. ·      If all 9 billion were to have a US diet, which takes about .5 ha of land to produce, we would need 4.5 billion ha of food producing land. But there is only 1.4 billion ha of cropland in use today and this is likely to decrease. ·      Recent "Footprint" analysis estimates that it takes about 8 ha of productive land to provide water, energy settlement area and food for one person living in an Australian world citySo if 9 billion people were to live as we do in rich world cities we would need about 72 billion ha of productive land. But that is 10 times all the productive land on the planet. (Note that a number of other factors could be added to the footprint calculation, such as the land needed to absorb pollution.)  Even though only one-fifth of the world’s people are resource-affluent, we are using resources at  rate that would take 1.4 planet earths to provide sustainably, (because we are consuming stocks such as forests faster than they can reproduce.) ·      The biological diversity and resilience of the planet is deteriorating alarmingly.   There are serious problems of water, food scarcity, forest and soil loss, decline of fish stocks, loss or coral reefs and tropical forests and mangroves and grasslands.  We are heading into an era of massive species extinction.  The cause of these problems is the fact that humans are taking so much from nature and dumping so many wastes back into nature. ·      It will probably soon be generally accepted that we must totally eliminate all CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by 2050. (Hansen, 2008, Meinshausen et al, 2009.)  There is a strong case that it will not be possible to do this while maintaining consumer-capitalist society.  Firstly it will not be possible to burn coal and sequester the resulting CO2 because only 80-90% of it can be captured for storage, and because the 50% of emissions from non-stationary sources cannot be captured.  Secondly there is a strong case that it will not be possible to substitute alternative energy sources for carbon emitting fuels on the scale required.  (Trainer, 2008.) These are some of the main limits to growth arguments which lead to the conclusion that there is no possibility of all people rising to the living standards we take for granted today in rich countries. We can only live like this because we are taking and using up most of the world’s scarce resources, preventing most of the world's people from having anything like a fair share, and depleting the planet’s ecological capital. Therefore we cannot morally endorse our affluent way of life. We must accept the need to move to far simpler and less resource-expensive ways. To this we must now add the absurdly impossible implications of our commitment to economic growth and increasing "living standards." If we in rich countries have 3% p. a. economic growth, by 2070 our "living standards" will be 8 times as high as they are now. If all the people likely to live on earth then were to have risen to the living standards we would have in 2070, total world economic output would be 60 times as great as it is today!! The present levels of production and consumption are grossly unsustainable yet we are blindly obsessed with increasing them towards multiples that are absurdly impossible. There is therefore an extremely powerful case for the limits to growth position. The magnitude of the overshoot is far too great for technical advance and more conservation and recycling effort to solve the problems, i.e., to reduce resource and ecological impacts to sustainable levels while we go on committed to affluent living standards and economic growth. The fundamental conclusion is that consumer-capitalist society cannot be fixed.  It cannot solve the problems its basic structures and commitments generate.    It has to be largely replaced by a society that will allow us to live well on a small fraction of the present levels of consumption.  The Simpler Way vision is 
that such a society must involve simpler lifestyles, mostly small and local economies under local participatory control and not determined by market forces, no economic growth, and the abandonment of competitive, individualistic and acquisitive values.  The coming era of scarcity will push us in the required direction, which the Ecovillage and Transition Towns movements are more or less pioneering. The best way to contribute to this transition is to work in local community gardens and co-ops towards local control of local affairs, stressing the need for vast and radical system change (e.g., to a zero-growth economy that is not driven by profit or the market but is run by us to maximise the quality of life of all people..)

Limitless growth is impossible -- too many constraints.

Heinberg 10Economist and energy expert, Senior Fellow-in-Residence at Post Carbon Insitute (Richard, “Beyond the Limits to Growth”, The Post Carbon Reader Series: Foundation Concepts, 2010,

It is unpleasant and unprofitable to talk about limits to the human enterprise. Yet in principle, the argument for eventual limits to growth is comprehensible by nearly anyone. Simple arithmetic growth is easy to understand. Imagine starting with $100 in a piggy bank and adding to it $10 every year—that’s arithmetic growth. By the end of 50 years you will have $600. A debt or a problem that grows arithmetically is much simpler to deal with than one that grows exponentially—that’s where the quantity expands by a certain percentage per unit of time. Start again with $100 in a piggy bank, but let it somehow magically grow by 10 percent per year, compounded, and the results are quite different: At the end of 50 years, you will have nearly $12,000, or over 20 times as much as yielded by arithmetic growth (figure 1.1). When discussing investments, exponential growth sounds like a very good thing, but when debts or problems grow in this way, calamity has a way of sneaking up on us. If any quantity grows steadily by a certain fixed percentage per year, this implies that it will double in size every so many years; the higher the percentage growth rate, the quicker the doubling. A rough method of figuring doubling times is known as the rule of 70: Dividing the percentage growth rate into 70 gives the approximate time required for the initial quantity to double. If a quantity is growing at 1 percent per year, it will double in 70 years; at growth of 2 percent per year, it will double in 35 years; at 5 percent growth, it will double in only 14 years; and so on. If you want to be more precise, you can use the Y^x button on your calculator, but the rule of 70 works fine for most purposes. Here’s a real-world example: Over the past two centuries, human population has grown at rates ranging from less than 1 percent to more than 2 percent per year. In 1800, world population stood at about 1 billion; by 1930 it had doubled to 2 billion. Only 40 years later (in 1975) it had doubled again to 4 billion; currently we are on track to achieve a third doubling, to 8 billion humans, around 2025. No one seriously expects human population to continue growing for centuries into the future. In nature, growth always slams up against nonnegotiable constraints sooner or later. If a species finds that its food source has expanded, its numbers will increase to take advantage of those surplus calories—but then its food source will become depleted as more mouths consume it, and its predators will likewise become more numerous (more tasty meals for them!). Population “blooms” (that is, periods of rapid growth) are always followed by crashes and die-offs. Always. Here is another real-world example. In recent years China’s economy has been growing at 8 percent or more per year; that means it is more than doubling in size about every 9 years. Indeed, China consumes more than twice as much coal as it did a decade ago—the same with iron ore and oil. The nation now has four times as many highways as it did, and almost five times as many cars. How long can this go on? How many more doublings can occur before China has used up its key resources—or has simply decided that enough is enough and has stopped growing?

Growth is unsustainable -- biology, physics, and diminishing returns.

Heinberg 10Economist and energy expert, Senior Fellow-in-Residence at Post Carbon Insitute (Richard, “Beyond the Limits to Growth”, The Post Carbon Reader Series: Foundation Concepts, 2010,

It makes sense that economies should follow rules analogous to those that govern biological systems. Plants and animals tend to grow quickly when they are young, but then they reach a more or less stable mature size. Beyond a certain point, growth becomes more of a problem than an advantage. But economists generally don’t see things this way. That is probably because most current economic theories were formulated during an anomalous historical period of sustained growth. Economists are merely generalizing from their experience: They can point to decades of steady growth in the recent past, and they simply project that experience into the future. Moreover, they have ways to explain why modern market economies are immune to the kinds of limits that constrain natural systems; the two main ones concern substitution and efficiency. If a useful resource becomes scarce its price will rise, and this creates an incentive for users of the resource to find a substitute. For example, if oil gets expensive enough, energy companies might start making liquid fuels from coal. Or they might develop other energy sources undreamed of today. Economists theorize that this process of substitution can go on forever. It’s part of the magic of the free market. Increasing efficiency means doing more with less. In the United States, the number of inflation-adjusted dollars generated in the economy for every unit of energy consumed has increased steadily over recent decades.3 That’s one kind of economic efficiency. Another has to do with locating the cheapest sources of materials and the places where workers will be most productive and work for the lowest wages. As we increase efficiency, we use less—of resources, labor, or money—to do more. That enables more growth. Increasing efficiency and finding substitutes for depleting resources are undeniably effective adaptive strategies of market economies. Nevertheless, the question remains open as to how long these strategies can continue to work in the real world—which is governed less by economic theories than by the laws of physics. In the real world, some things don’t have substitutes, or the substitutes are too expensive, or don’t work as well, or can’t be produced fast enough. And efficiency follows a law of diminishing returns: The first gains in efficiency are usually cheap, but every further incremental gain tends to cost more, until further gains become prohibitively expensive. Unlike economists, most physical scientists recognize that growth within any functioning, bounded system has to stop sometime. But this discussion of limits has very real implications, because “the economy” is not just an abstract concept; it is what determines whether we live in luxury or poverty, whether we eat or starve. If economic growth ends, everyone will be impacted, and it will take society years to adapt to this new condition. Therefore it is important to be able to forecast whether that moment is close or distant in time. Hence the Limits to Growth study and book. Its authors fed in data for world population growth, consumption trends, and the abundance of various important resources, ran their computer program, and concluded that the end of growth would probably arrive between 2010 and 2050. Industrial output and food production would then fall, leading to a decline in population.4

Historical trends of civilization collapse prove -- a huge cultural shift away from consumerism is key.

Trainer 11- Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the School of Social Work, University of New South Wales. (Ted, "The radical implications of a zero growth economy" 9/6/11,

History can be seen in terms of the damage that the drive to gain eventually does. Often a civilization emerges and for a while has considerable equity, but in time some become more wealthy and powerful, and develop into a class with increasing power and privileges and then dominate the rest. Their desire to gain drives a quest for more and more land, opulence, slaves...and foreign sources of wealth. An imperial phase begins. The wealth of other regions is plundered. Because there is no concept of enough, before long there is over-reach; it becomes impossible to maintain the empire, and the civilization self destructs. At present the West is passing through the over-reach phase into decline, while China is rising past us, driven by the same old single-minded obsession with getting richer and more powerful. This sorry story will not cease until humans learn to be content with enough. This is a core theme in “The Simpler Way” analysis -- this society cannot be fixed; its major elements must be scrapped and replaced. (Trainer 2010b) Most obviously, you cannot reform a growth economy to be a zero-growth economy, and you cannot remove the growth element from the economy while leaving the rest of it as it was; you have to build a completely different economy. Above all, you will not solve the many problems the quest for growth is causing without scrapping core structures in our culture, that is until people in general come to be content with what is sufficient and design and run economies that are about subsistence, gift and reciprocity.

Economic meltdown is inevitable -- policy changes aren’t sufficient to change it.

Dr. Farell 6-19-12-UVirginia Law, Cornell, Carnegie Institute of Technology B.Arch., M.R.P., J.D., Ph.D.(Paul B., “20 rules that can save you from the Doomsday Cycle Commentary: Paradigm shift coming after Great Depression 2”, Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2012,

Yes, they predicted doomsday three years ago. Listen: “Over the last 30 years, we have built a financial system that threatens to topple our global economic order,” wrote Simon Johnson and Peter Boone. “We have let an unsustainable and crazy ‘doomsday cycle’ infiltrate our economic system.” This doomsday “cycle will not run forever … The destructive power of the down cycle will overwhelm the restorative ability of the government, just like it did in 1929-31.” In 2008 “we came remarkably close to another Great Depression. Next time, we may not be so lucky.” That was 2009. Since then Johnson, former IMF chief economist, co-wrote last year’s bestseller “13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown” and the new “White House Burning.” Other new books echo the same doomsday warning: Peter Schiff’s “The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy” … Paul Krugman’s “End This Depression Now” … James Rickards’s “Currency Wars” … Philip Coogan’s “Paper Promises” … Joseph Stiglitz, “The Price of Inequity” … Ian Bremmer, “Every Nation For Itself,” and other reminders of doomsday. Folks, the “next time” is here. Our luck is running out. And unfortunately, our leaders in both parties are blinded by an obsession to win an election. Ergo, they will fail to act in time. Hot news: Global economic meltdown, a rapidly spreading virus Today’s headlines are flashing like neon signs on the Vegas Strip … The Economist: “Playing With Fire” … Wall Street Journal: “Threat Spreads Across Europe” … L.A. Times: “Fiscal Cliff may Threaten U.S. Recovery. … Time, “The Jobless Generation: How to Get Them Jobs Before…They Erupt in Fury.” … Foreign Policy: “12 Signs of the Europocalypse” … Newsweek: “The Gathering Eurostorm Could Come to American Shores” … Gary Shilling’s Insight: “Semi-Annual U.S. Economic Report: So Far, So Bad.” And into this accelerating meltdown mess, USA Today added these sobering facts, “Families’ Wealth Dives 39%, Richest Gained 2%.” But we all know neither party will fix these core economic issues driving the Doomsday Cycle. Not this summer. Not after the elections. And we all know why. America’s leaders on both sides are so psychologically blinded by personal ambition they’ve lost all touch with reality, no longer see what’s best for all Americans. Yes, “an unsustainable and crazy Doomsday Cycle has infiltrated our economic system,” Johnson and Boone wrote in their 2009 article in “CentrePiece,” a publication of the London School of Economics. Worse, it’s been accelerating since 2008. And by failing to act in a timely way, politicians in both parties will let the “destructive power of the down cycle overwhelm the restorative ability of the government, just like it did in 1929-31, very much like a Second Great Depression.” Politics? Irrelevant. Who wins? Irrelevant. Money rules America Seriously, folks, the elections are relevant. Totally. Oh, both sides pretend it matters. But it no longer matters who’s president. Or who’s in Congress. Money runs America. And when it comes to the public interest, money is not just greedy, but myopic, narcissistic and deaf. Money from Wall Street bankers, Corporate CEOs, the Super Rich and their army of 261,000 highly paid mercenary lobbyists. They hedge, place bets on both sides. Democracy is dead.

Growth is unsustainable -- financial, environmental, and social distresses prove.

Spratt et al. 10-Stephen holds a BA from the University of East Anglia, an MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and a DPhil from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.(Stephen, “The Great Transition”, NEF, June 2010,

The events of the last year have made clear the scale of the challenges we face – we really do need to get this right and start doing so soon. Most visibly, the banking meltdown triggered the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. But this is by no means the only one. Greenhouse gas concentrations are reaching levels where runaway climate change becomes more and more difficult to avoid. Peak oil may be far closer than we think and there is little preparedness for the energy crisis that lurks just around the corner. Inequality between countries, as well as within countries, is reaching new highs. On top of all this, life satisfaction even in the most developed countries is at best stagnant, and even declining in some. It is hard to conclude anything other than that the current model of pursuing economic growth at all costs – environmental and social – just isn’t working.

Global growth is unsustainable -- resource scarcity and environmental destruction.

Trainer 2k- University of New South Wales, Australia (Ted F.E., “Where are we, Where do we want to be, How do we get there?” Democracy and Nature, 2000, Volume 6, Number 2,)//PN

Over the past 30 years a formidable case has accumulated in support of the claim that the living standards and levels of production and consumption characteristic of rich countries are grossly unsustainable for resource and environmental reasons. This conclusion can be arrived at via any one of a number of lines or argument .8 For example estimated potentially recoverable resources for fossil fuels and minerals indicate that if we were to try to increase production to the point where all people expected on the planet by 2070, perhaps 10 billion, were each to have the present rich world per capita consumption, then all fuels and one-third of the mineral items would be totally exhausted by about 2040. Renewable energy sources are very unlikely to be able to fill the gap.9 This means that there is no possibility of all people rising to the per capita resource consumption typical of the rich countries today. The greenhouse problem provides a similar argument. If the carbon content of the atmosphere were to be prevented from increasing any further, world energy use for 10 billion people would have to be reduced to a per capita average that is just 6% of the present rich world average. Most people have little understanding of the magnitude of the reduction s required for sustainability. ‘Footprint analysis ’ indicates that to provide for one person living in a rich world city requires at least 4.5 ha of productive land. If 10 billion people were to live that way the amount of productive land required would be around eight times all the productive land on the planet .10 Figures of these kinds indicate that present rich world levels of production and consumption are far beyond sustainability. Yet the supreme commitment in rich and poor countries is to economic growth, i.e. to constantly increasing level s of production and consumption without limit. The absurdly impossible implication s are made clear by asking what increase there would be in Gross World Product if by 2070 the expected 10 billion people were to have risen to the living standards people in rich countries would have, given 3% growth until then. The answer is an approximately 100-fol d increase in present Gross World Product. (If a 4% average growth rate is assumed the multiple is 200.) These sorts of figures should leave no doubt that there is no possibility of all people rising to anything like the living standard s we in rich countries have, let alone those we aspire to. A sustainable society must therefore be denied in terms that extend well beyond taking social control over the market. It must focus on notions of simplicity, co-operation and self-sufficiency and a long period of negative economic growth culminating in a steady-stat e economy, notions which many on the left find distasteful.

Growth unsustainable -- resource scarcity.

Duncan 93 - chief author of the Olduvai theory, a prediction of rapidly declining world energy production. He has an MS in Electrical Engineering (1969) and a PhD in Systems Engineering (1973) from the University of Washington, (Richard C., “The Life-Expectancy of Industrial Civilization: The Decline to Global Equilibrium”, Institute on Energy and Man, March 1993, Volume 14, Number 4,

Measured in terms of industrial output per capita, the "standard run" simulation in Meadows et al. (1972; reproduced in Pestel, 1989, p. 167) indicated a life-expectancy of only about 90 years, and as I recall, the behavior of the Forrester (1971) and Mesarovic and Pestel (1974) models was similar. In the mid-1970s, physicist Gerald O'Neill realized that, due to the limited size of the earth, the options for industrial civilization were closing. Until very recently, though, we had some hope that averaging over the ups and downs the human race as a whole was struggling toward more decent living conditions, better education, and more freedom .... a slow development averaging toward the better. But while we remain limited to the surface of a gradually depleted Earth, we face a new kind of threat: even our success becomes failure (O'Neill, 1976, pp. 42-43). 349 RICHARD C. DUNCAN Paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey and biochemist Roger Lewin (1977) predicted that, because the material affluence enjoyed by techno- logically advanced nations was so destructive of the planet's natural re- sources, even the 1977 global population of four billion could not be sustained longer than one-hundred years. Using a biological approach to cultural evolution, anthropologist Marvin Harris concluded: All rapidly intensifying systems of production, whether they be socialist, capitalist, hydraulic, neolithic, or paleolithic, face a common dilemma. The increment in energy invested per unit time in production will inevitably overburden the self-renewing, self-cleansing, self-generating capacities of the ecosystem... The bubble-like nature of [the industrial] mode of production can be seen from the fact that if the rest of the world were suddenly to adopt the energy ratios characteristic of U.S. agriculture, all known reserves of petroleum would be exhausted in eleven years. Or to put it in a slightly different form: the faster the underdeveloped world industrializes, the sooner the industrial world must develop a new mode of production. How fast and how low standards of living in the industrial nations will fall depends on how long conversion to alternative energy sources is delayed. The possibility of deep impoverishment should not be dismissed (Harris, 1977, pp. 271, 283, 284).

Loss of ecological dominance makes industrial society unsustainable.

Duncan 93 - chief author of the Olduvai theory, a prediction of rapidly declining world energy production. He has an MS in Electrical Engineering (1969) and a PhD in Systems Engineering (1973) from the University of Washington, (Richard C., “The Life-Expectancy of Industrial Civilization: The Decline to Global Equilibrium”, Institute on Energy and Man, March 1993, Volume 14, Number 4,

There are several reasons, I believe, why the end of the second phase is likely to occur within the next few decades. The first reason is the result of some simple calculations tempered by judgement, as follows. Recall that the e-curve for energy-use per person per year, Figure 1, remained 351 RICHARD C. DUNCAN relatively flat for millions of years, such that the rate of change of energy- use per person per year was essentially zero: i.e., de/dt~0. Then abruptly during the late nineteenth century, the de/dt-curve shot up and peaked in about 1915, and thereafter plunged into the depths of the Great Depression in 1935, as shown in Figure 4. Next, the de/dt-curve took off again in about 1940 and rocketed skyward to an Everest-like summit in 1960. Then suddenly it went into a dizzying free-fall that continued through 1990, the latest year for which data was available. Presently, the world population is soaring (doubling-time-~40 years), and no new primary energy source is in sight. Thus it appears that the forces of population growth will continue to dominate (i.e., Inequality (8), (AP)/P > (AE)/E will hold) and the lagging 1/e point (point J in Figure 1) will occur before 2030 AD. The second reason relates to the lack of control we human beings have over our own life-support system. This situation was discussed in the previous section in terms of a four-sector feedback model and ten fundamental requirements for system control. Here, two brief quotes conclude the topic. To return to the point at issue, who then is in the driver's seat? If not governments, if not scientists, who? Nobody. We are traveling in a vehicle that guides itself, just as our species has arisen from an evolutionary process that guided itself throughout past ages. It is my belief that nothing has changed, we are still in the grip of natural processes, we are not in charge of our own destiny (Hoyle, 1964, p. 61). The idea of a special human destiny has never been true--now it is no longer adaptive either. Simply put, we are losing our ecological dominance. The environments we have created are becoming uninhabitable, and we may not be able to control them any longer (Johanson & Shreeve, 1989, p. 290).

Growth unsustainable – adaptive drives.

Duncan 93 - chief author of the Olduvai theory, a prediction of rapidly declining world energy production. He has an MS in Electrical Engineering (1969) and a PhD in Systems Engineering (1973) from the University of Washington, (Richard C., “The Life-Expectancy of Industrial Civilization: The Decline to Global Equilibrium”, Institute on Energy and Man, March 1993, Volume 14, Number 4,

The third reason is both personal and universal. It derives from the basic motives I sense in myself: the innermost forces that drive my behavior such as self-centeredness, immediacy, self-deception, growth-orientation, and factiousness (Duncan, 1989). Here I refer to the powerful gene- based behavioral patterns (represented by arrow x in Figure 5) that simply overpower the weak and inconsistent culturally-based behavioral patterns (arrow y). I believe these deep and universal (and once adaptive) drives, fixed in the human genome by natural selection over thousands of Pleistocene generations, virtually ensure the end of industrial civilization by 2030 AD. The fourth reason stems from what I have seen of the people and 352 POPULATION AND ENVIRONMENT conditions in some fifty diverse countries over the past forty years. Mixed with cherished memories of the still great beauty of the natural world, are piteous scenes of utter squalor and destitution among the vast and growing populations in what are patronizingly called "the developing countries." This leads me to conclude there is a vanishingly small chance that the downward trend of energy-use per person can be halted or reversed before the value falls to 37% of the 1980 peak value. Anybody who has seriously observed the plight of burgeoning masses in countries such as Peru, Equador, Brazil, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and China will agree with this conclusion, or be obliged to explain how the decline in per capita energy-use can be halted or reversed in less than two generations.

Growth unsustainable -- energy consumption.

Duncan 93 - chief author of the Olduvai theory, a prediction of rapidly declining world energy production. He has an MS in Electrical Engineering (1969) and a PhD in Systems Engineering (1973) from the University of Washington, (Richard C., “The Life-Expectancy of Industrial Civilization: The Decline to Global Equilibrium”, Institute on Energy and Man, March 1993, Volume 14, Number 4,

The fifth reason is revealed by a careful reading of the general version of White's law. Specifically, the general version contains two important factors that were left out of the simplified version: namely, the environmental and sociopolitical impacts of energy exploitation and use. Because these factors appear in the denominator of the expression, and the adverse impacts have been increasing at an alarming rate in recent decades, the tandem juggernaut of global industrialization coupled to global population growth means that the actual rate of decline in industrial civilization is likely to be even more precipitous than that revealed by Equation (3), and graphed in Figure 4. The sixth reason why industrial collapse may be cruelly sudden can be explained by inspecting the values for the average annual change in world total energy-use, i.e., dE/dt, for the years 1850 through 1990, as listed below, where the units of dE/dt are Joules x 1016 per year 2. Year dE/dt Year d~dt 1850 15.8 1930 46.7 1870 19.4 1950 441.6 1890 56.7 1970 1,158.5 1910 133.6 1990 519.8 The above table shows that the value of dE/dt decreased by 55% be- tween 1970 and 1990. If the same rate of decline was to continue indefinitely beyond 1990, then global dE/dt would "go negative," i.e., dE/ dt < 0, in the year 2006. Assuming that total world population continues to increase, i.e., dP/dt > 0, then after 2006 AD both of the terms in Equation (3) will cause energy-use per person per year, i.e., the value of e(t), to plummet. As measured by all commercially traded fuels, this condition 353 RICHARD C. DUNCAN already occurred between 1989 and 1990 in some industrial nations, including Canada, Belgium and Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, USSR, and the countries of central Europe (British Petroleum, 1991, p. 33).

Environmental limitations are inevitable -- makes a transition away from growth economies key.

Batterbury 96Associate Professor of Political Ecology of Natural Resources at University of Melbourne (Simon PJ, “Ted Trainer and the ‘Conserver Society’”, Environmental Studies, 1996,

Ted Trainer - Social Work, University of NSW

The last section of the book (chapters IS-19), is more reflective in tone, and makes the interesting point that for us to make the transitions proposed in the text is “entirely an educational problem” (~210) since only if public awareness be raised sufficiently will the necessity for new lifestyles appear attractive and urgent, and the changes be set in motion. Trainer believes radical structural change in the economy and the geography of consumer society will only come about through persuasion and education, not, in his view, by limited numbers of people adopting greener lifestyles or throwing their weight behind single- interest pressure groups. But, for me, the visible destruction of the environment must surely gain supporters for the environmental cause, as do the actions of the new, more outspoken, environmentalists such as the Sritish 8 Simon PJ Batterbury anti-roads lobby, Earth First, the anti-nuclear coalitions, and campaigners for human and animal rights across the world. Trainer, however, attacks some of these institutions, as well as green political lobbies and the enlightened environmental agencies, for ‘band-aiding’ the problems generated by a greedy society, through their campaigns or political actions. It is easy to let people think that “saving the whale. traffic-calming, or recycling” are righting environmental wrongs and will make things better. Thus, the public continue to embrace affluence when they are able to, without seeing that economic growth will continue to bring wave upon wave of environmental problems for future generations (p2 13). Here, Trainer is careful to distance his peaceful anarchism from classical socialist thought. A socialist analysis, he feels, rightly exposes the inevitable contradictions of capitalism and the inevitability of change (Trainer, 1995b), but has tended in the past to be dismissive of ‘limits to growth’ arguments and ecological questions more generally. This point has been made many times, and is contested in journals such as Society and Nature, Capitalism Nature Socialism and Rethinking Marxism. A ‘limits to growth’ perspective suggests that we need to de-develop, not throw affluence at poverty without regard for resource limitations and environmental consequences. This underlying contradiction is often the source of acrimony between Reds and Greens, and frustrates meaningful dialogue and social change (Atkinson, 1991; Redclift, 1984, Pepper 1996). Trainer tries to sideline these red-green differences by proposing a concrete strategy to promote conserver values, which is again anarchist in approach. He suggests the need to educate, but also to-simply ignore capitalist ways in everyday life. Eventually this would paralyse consumer society, if sufficient numbers make the shift away from materialism in their values and lifestyle. As recent planning decisions by the Department of the Environment in the UK have shown, however, communities ‘opting out’ of modem society and attempting to produce their own food and goods are guaranteed to receive a hard time from governments, and will tax the patience of large corporations and the commercial marketing machine who are unable to profit from them. In fact, it is generally admitted that the targe corporations could easily scupper the emerging conserver society by closing down essential services and fms before local co-operatives are ready to replace them; Trainer is not naive enough to ignore this obvious point, although his arguments will be hotly disputed.

Global inequality makes growth unsustainable.

Batterbury 96Associate Professor of Political Ecology of Natural Resources at University of Melbourne (Simon PJ, “Ted Trainer and the ‘Conserver Society’”, Environmental Studies, 1996,

Ted Trainer - Social Work, University of NSW

Trainer is uncompromising in his assertion that “the present consumer way of life we take for granted in rich countries is totally unsustainable” (~2). Echoing the central message of Abandon AfJluence (Trainer, 1983, he embraces ‘ecocentric’ views, which necessarily involve a commitment to a simpler (but still diverse) lifestyle. Western values and social relations involve what De Walt (1988, ~114) calls the “tilt towards gratification”: rampant consumerism, as well as unsustainable economic growth, and unworkable geographies. Growth, and social values which underpin it (the profit motive, materialism and the enterprise culture), lie at the very heart of global inequality and environmental problems. The rich nations are existing on per capita levels of resource consumption which cannot continue, and are selling the ideology of economic development to developing nations. This will only exacerbate poverty, spatial inequalities and resource depletion. As proponents of zero-growth economics such as Daly (1992) have argued, the third world will never be able to attain western levels of industrialisation and living Ted Trainer and the ‘conserver society’ 3 standards, since environmental resources are finite and insufficient to allow affluence for all of us. The motto of a more just and humane society must therefore be “... the rich must live more simply so that the poor may simply live”. Some of the easy ways to create greener and sustainable forms of urban living discussed in the book will already be familiar, for example, the need to install community allotments. Ponds and food gardens could replace much unproductive parkland, lawns and derelict sites, bringing the production of more food closer to the point of consumption in urban areas. Trainer is a fan of zero input, high yield permaculture systems where climates permit (p29), tailored by local populations to their particular soil and water regimes and requiring low iabour inputs. Durable housing, which recycles all wastes for energy and fertiliser (p38), may be built cheaply using mud brick, recycled materials, and renewable energy sources wherever possible. Yet, for me, there are intractable problems in the development of sustainable communities along these lines where existing urban areas suffer decaying infrastructure, poor design, low levels of home ownership and insecure tenure, and where transport and pollutionproblems are severe. It is not clear, for example, how blocks of inner city’ apartments could be made self-sufficient in water, electricity and sewerage in the ways Trainer suggests for his self-built housing projects and eco-villages. Dense existing settlements may have to retain ‘interim’ non-sustainable systems such as local small power stations, and rely heavily on small allotments and roof-spaces for limited food supply (Trainer, . 1995b).

More ev -- diminishing returns.

Trainer 10- Social Work, University of NSW, Kensington 2052 (Ted F.E., “THE SIMPLER WAY:WORKING FOR TRANSITION FROM CONSUMER SOCIETY TO


The foregoing numbers show that rich world per capita rates of resource use and environmental impact are probably 10 times higher than all people expected on the planet could have sustainably. NOW ADD THE ABSURDLY IMPOSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH The foregoing argument has been that the present levels of production and consumption are quite unsustainable. They are too high to be kept going for long or to be extended to all people. But that does not represent the magnitude of the problem.   Consumer-capitalist society is determined to increase present living standards and levels of output and consumption, as much as possible and without any end in sight. In other words our supreme goal is economic growth. Few people seem to recognise the absurdly impossible consequences of pursuing economic growth. If we have a 3% p.a. increase in output, by 2060 we will be producing 8 times as much every year. (For 4% growth the multiple is 16.) If by 200 all the world's people had risen to the living standards we in Australia would have then given 3% growth, the total world economic output would be more than 30 times what it is today!   Yet the present level is unsustainable. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could disagree with this “limits to growth” case.  Yet it is ignored by the mainstream, by governments, economists, media and people in general.  The inescapable implication is that we must work out how to live well on a small fraction of present per capita levels of production and consumption, and with no desire to increase these over time. DIMINISHING RETURNS We are running into problems of diminishing returns.  As society becomes more complex, more resources and time and dollars have to go into maintaining systems and the net benefit per unit of input declines.  Tainter (1988) saw this as the key effect in the decline and fall of empires.  For instance Rome reached the stage where most of the effort had to go into maintaining the borders and territories previously conquered, leaving none for expanding any further.  Imagine using gravel to make more roads.  As the system increases more of the gravel has to be used to repair roads, until eventually all of the supply is going into maintaining existing roads and there can be no further extension of the system The diminishing returns effect is evident in the expense we go to where roads cross.  In a village there is no problem, but in a modern freeway system an intersection can involve construction of multi-million dollar flyovers etc. Water has to be pumped to high levels in buildings. We now have to make special provision for child minding, care of aged people, dealing with pollution, recycling water, and especially for patching up all the social damage being caused, the depression, stress, homelessness, crime suicide…  Tribes need no lawyers, prisons, welfare workers.  They have law but one person can remember it all.  Our law would occupy metres of shelf space and we have billion-dollar institutions making more laws every day.  At the global level vast sums have to be spent on arms to maintain access to the markets and resources rich societies must now get.  Patents per dollar spent on research are falling.  (Tainter).  We are now having to consider vastly expensive schemes to bury the CO2 from fossil fuel use.  Daly argues that we are well past the point where producing adds more to costs to be met than to welfare to be enjoyed. Tainter also points out that systems are becoming more inter-connected and therefore prone to total system breakdown when one component fails. Spare parts for devices all around the world might come from one factory.  Most spectacularly, the integrated global financial system all went down in 2008, whereas in earlier times your region would have been dependent only on the local banks which would not have been affected if banks in other countries failed.   Similarly world trade is highly interconnected; the failure of a harvest in one major country can starve millions everywhere.  These are instances of loss of resilience in our systems. 

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