The End of Growth

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  • Edition: Original
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-08-09
  • Publisher: New Society Pub

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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 civilisation 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 and crushing levels of debt. These converging limits will force us to re-evaluate cherished economic theories and to reinvent money and commerce. This book 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.

Author Biography

Richard Heinberg is the author of nine previous books including The Partys Over, Peak Everything, and Blackout. A Senior Fellow of Post Carbon Institute, he is one of the worlds foremost Peak Oil educators and an effective communicator of the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: The New Normalp. 1
Why Is Growth Ending?p. 2
The End of Growth Should Come As No Surprisep. 4
Why Is Growth So Important?p. 6
But Isn't Growth Normal?p. 10
The Simple Math of Compounded Growthp. 12
The Peak Oil Scenariop. 15
From Scary Theory to Scarier Realityp. 18
Bursting Bubblesp. 19
What Comes After Growth?p. 20
A Guide to the Bookp. 22
The Great Balloon Racep. 27
Economic History in Ten Minutesp. 28
Economics for the Hurriedp. 34
20th-century Economicsp. 38
Business Cycles, Interest Rates, and Central Banksp. 41
Mad Moneyp. 46
I Owe Youp. 51
The Sound of Air Escapingp. 55
Houses of Cardsp. 56
Setting the Stage: 1970 to 2001p. 57
Shadow Banks and the Housing Bubblep. 61
What Goes Upp. 63
The Mother of All Maniasp. 70
Limits to Debtp. 72
All Loaned Up and Nowhere to Gop. 81
Stimulus Duds, Bailout Blanksp. 83
Actions by Other Nations and Their Central Banksp. 91
After All the Arrows have Flownp. 92
Deflation or Inflation?p. 96
The Bridge to Nowherep. 99
Earth's Limits: Why Growth Won't Returnp. 105
Oilp. 106
Other Energy Sourcesp. 113
How Markets May Respond to Resource Scarcity: The Goldilocks Syndromep. 118
Waterp. 124
Foodp. 129
Metals and Other Mineralsp. 138
Climate Change, Pollution, Accidents, Environmental Decline, and Natural Disastersp. 145
Won't Innovation, Substitution, and Efficiency Keep Us Growing?p. 155
Substitutes Foreverp. 156
Energy Efficiency to the Rescuep. 164
Business Development: The Cavalry's on the Wayp. 174
Moore's or Murphy's Law?p. 177
Specialization and Globalization: Genies at Our Commandp. 181
Shrinking Pie: Competition and Relative Growth in a Finite Worldp. 189
The China Bubblep. 190
CurrencyWarsp. 202
Post-Growth Geopoliticsp. 208
Population Stress: Old vs. Young on a Full Planetp. 212
The End of "Development"?p. 217
The Post-Growth Struggle Between Rich and Poorp. 224
Managing Contraction, Redefining Progressp. 231
The Default Scenariop. 233
Haircutsfor All... or Free Money?p. 236
Post-Growth Moneyp. 241
Post-Growth Economicsp. 246
Gross National Happinessp. 255
Our Problems Are Resolvable In Principlep. 259
Life After Growthp. 267
Setting Prioritiesp. 268
Transition Townsp. 270
Common Security Clubsp. 273
Putting the New Economy on the Mapp. 275
What Might a Sustainable Society Look Like?p. 280
Perspectivep. 284
Notesp. 287
Indexp. 311
About the Authorp. 321
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