The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality

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Overview

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, ...

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The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Heinberg (senior fellow-in-residence, Post Carbon Inst.; Blackout: Coal, Climate, and the Last Energy Crisis) contends that new economic growth, the ostensible solution to the current global recession, is impossible to achieve. He argues that high levels of public and private debt make new borrowing (necessary to fund growth) difficult and that any deleveraging of the current debt would also inhibit growth. Discounting possible ameliorating effects of efficiency and innovation, Heinberg warns that the increasing scarcity and cost of energy, water, food, and minerals as well as the environment's fragile condition will be a further constraint on future growth. While he admits that isolated growth has continued to occur, he believes that even fast-growing economies like China's will ultimately slow. He cautions that an end to growth portends heightened geopolitical and demographic competition but offers hope that the world can build a new economy based on sustainability and self-restraint. VERDICT Clearly written and argued with excellent graphs and taking account of recent events, Heinberg's contrarian view on growth is highly recommended to all readers interested in economics, sustainability, and future trends.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
From the Publisher
"Clearly written and argued . . . Heinberg's contrarian view on growth is highly recommended to all [listeners] interested in economics, sustainability, and future trends." —-Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865716957
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/9/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 388,553
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Heinberg: is the author of nine previous books including The Party’s Over, Peak Everything, and Blackout. He is a Senior Fellow of Post Carbon Institute, a think tank helping chart humanity’s transition from the brief, waning reign of fossil-fueled megatechnology to the dawning era of re-adaptation to nature’s limits. Widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost Peak Oil educators, Richard lectures widely and appears on radio, television, and in films. With a wry, unflinching approach, he explains the trends that shape our world.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: The New Normal 1

Why Is Growth Ending? 2

The End of Growth Should Come As No Surprise 4

Why Is Growth So Important? 6

But Isn't Growth Normal? 10

The Simple Math of Compounded Growth 12

The Peak Oil Scenario 15

From Scary Theory to Scarier Reality 18

Bursting Bubbles 19

What Comes After Growth? 20

A Guide to the Book 22

1 The Great Balloon Race 27

Economic History in Ten Minutes 28

Economics for the Hurried 34

20th-century Economics 38

Business Cycles, Interest Rates, and Central Banks 41

Mad Money 46

I Owe You 51

2 The Sound of Air Escaping 55

Houses of Cards 56

Setting the Stage: 1970 to 2001 57

Shadow Banks and the Housing Bubble 61

What Goes Up 63

The Mother of All Manias 70

Limits to Debt 72

All Loaned Up and Nowhere to Go 81

Stimulus Duds, Bailout Blanks 83

Actions by Other Nations and Their Central Banks 91

After All the Arrows have Flown 92

Deflation or Inflation? 96

The Bridge to Nowhere 99

3 Earth's Limits: Why Growth Won't Return 105

Oil 106

Other Energy Sources 113

How Markets May Respond to Resource Scarcity: The Goldilocks Syndrome 118

Water 124

Food 129

Metals and Other Minerals 138

Climate Change, Pollution, Accidents, Environmental Decline, and Natural Disasters 145

4 Won't Innovation, Substitution, and Efficiency Keep Us Growing? 155

Substitutes Forever 156

Energy Efficiency to the Rescue 164

Business Development: The Cavalry's on the Way 174

Moore's or Murphy's Law? 177

Specialization and Globalization: Genies at Our Command 181

5 Shrinking Pie: Competition and Relative Growth in a Finite World 189

The China Bubble 190

CurrencyWars 202

Post-Growth Geopolitics 208

Population Stress: Old vs. Young on a Full Planet 212

The End of "Development"? 217

The Post-Growth Struggle Between Rich and Poor 224

6 Managing Contraction, Redefining Progress 231

The Default Scenario 233

Haircutsfor All... or Free Money? 236

Post-Growth Money 241

Post-Growth Economics 246

Gross National Happiness 255

Our Problems Are Resolvable In Principle 259

7 Life After Growth 267

Setting Priorities 268

Transition Towns 270

Common Security Clubs 273

Putting the New Economy on the Map 275

What Might a Sustainable Society Look Like? 280

Perspective 284

Notes 287

Index 311

About the Author 321

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2012

    Much of the content here is from the headlines - but put togethe

    Much of the content here is from the headlines - but put together in a broad, meaningful display. Many ideas for solving the problems that face this planet have been collected from hordes of superb people deeply committed to future generations, and creating a new world without fossil fuels but with many solutions. What I find to treasure the most is the extensive information supplied, including the author's netsite, and the websites of many of his sources, as well as additional references. The over-all helpful tone impressed me greatly - for if you have children, or grandchildren, you need to be knowledgeable .... and prepare.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    BACK IN CLASS

    BORING and REPETITIVE!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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