Reaching its limits: can the global economy keep growing?

● By Prof. Bruce Henry and Isaac Donnelly (University of New South Wales) ● In 1972 a group of scientists, known collectively as the Club of Rome, constructed a detailed mathematical model to test whether population growth and economic development could continue indefinitely and if not, what the limits to growth and its manifestations would be. Their findings were published in a report called The Limits to Growth. The standard future scenario in their computer projections showed positive growth in both the population and the economy until the mid-21st century - and then a decline. The public responded firstly with a mixture of alarm and scepticism, and then disinterest. But in recent years there has been renewed interest in this body of work, including a recent article in The Conversation, with updated studies showing that we are on track to realise the standard scenario in The Limits to Growth. Our current trajectory suggests that the world system will realise a decline in living standards. There needs to be a shift in the global economy that moves away from wellbeing measures based on GDP, and which embraces new meaningful measures of progress, as well as better accounting of resources and people. In population growth we are now beyond the point of inflexion. For tens of thousands of years the rate of population growth has been increasing. But since midway through the second half of the 20th century this rate has been decreasing. Most population modellers anticipate population rates midway through the 21st century to remain steady, or decline. The rate of economic growth also appears to be slowing. In standard macro-economic models, slower population growth also translates to slower economic growth. The other key driver of economic growth, productivity, usually requires capital investment and borrowing from future generations, but this too would be hard to support with a declining population ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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