Limits to Growth

Probably the most interesting finding of the week, if not the year. In 1972, MIT published a model that foretold a peak and then decline in the global economy, starting sometime within the next 15 years.(1) A director and KPMG has taken a look at that forecast, comparing it with current data, and finds the forecast and data to be remarkably consistent. The report is available on the KPMG site.(2)

What does that mean for us?

The models show a future that ranges from a soft decline to an outright crash in industrial production and food availability. It also shows either a gradual or not-so-gradual decline in the human population, consistent with separate, previously published demographic forecasts of decline.(4,5)

“Free market” economies are based on growth selling more product to more customers. However, we are staring at a future in which that won’t be possible unless we find other worlds with which to do business.

The outyear for all this to happen in 2040. It will happen by then if not sooner. The only open question is how intense the contraction will be. Will we see gradual, measured adjustment, or complete social and economic collapse?

Think about it. Unless a virus gets you, you will probably be alive to see this happen.

Was Elon Musk thinking about this forecast when he committed to his Mars colony? He didn’t attend MIT but many of the top people working for him are alums.(3) There’s no reason they wouldn’t know about this rather famous study.

If I recall correctly, the MIT report didn’t factor climate change into the model in 1971. That may be the catalyst speeding up the forecast.

In any case, here we are. In any case, there are a number of models discussed in this and other posts that all point to a decline in humans on this planet. They are all very consistent.

What do we do to prepare for that new reality?




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