The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality
GDP, unemployment, housing, durable goods, national deficits, personal income and consumer spending. All these measures point to severe and chronic problems anyhow, no matter how you look at them…. Toxic assets litter the portfolios of the major banks, presage another global financial meltdown. They arise from unaccountable government agencies and private interest groups. The Republican Party has taken leave of reality.
The Democrats, meanwhile, offer no realistic strategy for coping with the economic unravelling or climate change. And when it does the financial system will seize up far more dramatically than it did in You will go to the bank or the ATM and there will be no money. Food will be scarce and expensive. Unemployment will be rampant. And government services will break down. Living standards will plummet. Economic inequality will widen to create massive gaps between a tiny, oligarchic global elite and the masses.
The collapse will also inevitably trigger the kind of instability and unrest, including riots, that we have seen in countries such as Greece and Spain…. The elites, who understand and deeply fear the possibility of this unravelling, have been pillaging state resources to save their corrupt, insolvent banks, militarise their police forces and rewrite legal codes to criminalise dissent. If nations were able to respond rationally to the crisis they could forestall social collapse.
Book review, 'The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality' | Acton Institute
They would need to reconfigure their economies away from ceaseless growth and debt. It remains possible, at least in theory, to provide most people with the basics — food, water, housing, medical care, employment, and education. This, however, as Richard points out, would require the abandonment of nearly everything we take for granted. It would necessitate a massive cancellation of debt, along with the slashing of defence budgets.
Comprehensive regulation and restraints would have to be placed on the financial sector; and high taxes imposed on oligarchic elites and corporations in order to rid ourselves of unsustainable levels of inequality. Richard said that while such economic restructuring would not mitigate climate change and the depletion of our natural resources it would create the social stability we need to deal with the new post-growth system. Survival will be determined locally.
The restructuring will arise not through ideologies, but through the necessities of survival forced upon us all as we run out of oil and supermarket food. This will inevitably create strife as decentralisation weakens the power of the elites and the corporate state. The big difference this time though is that we will unravel at a global level. Tainter notes in his book that as societies become more complex they inevitably invest greater and greater amounts of ever diminishing resources in increasing complexity. This has always proved to be fatal.
The investments needed to maintain overly complex systems become too expensive, and they yield smaller and smaller returns. Richard believes this is our fate. The quality of our lives will utterly depend on the quality of our communities. If community structures remain strong, we will be able to endure. If they are weak we will succumb to the bleakness. Noam Chomsky.
The Social Animal.
David Brooks. Too Big to Fail. Andrew Ross Sorkin. The Janson Directive. Robert Ludlum. The Singularity Is Near. Ray Kurzweil. God Is Not Great. Lawrence M. The Big Picture. Sean Carroll.
What the Dog Saw. Malcolm Gladwell. The Hidden Reality. Brian Greene. On Tyranny. Timothy Snyder. Bill Nye. Flash Boys.
Michael Lewis. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. Chris Hadfield. The Lacuna.
Barbara Kingsolver. The Power of Habit. Charles Duhigg. Dark Money. Jane Mayer. Deep Work. Cal Newport. Laura Vanderkam. Being Mortal. Atul Gawande.
- The Year in Respiratory Medicine Volume 3 (2006).
- Q&A: RICHARD HEINBERG, author, THE END OF GROWTH: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality.
- Constraint-Based Mining and Inductive Databases: European Workshop on Inductive Databases and Constraint Based Mining, Hinterzarten, Germany, March?
Thinking, Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman. A Walk in the Woods. Bill Bryson. The Night Manager. Of Mice and Men. John Steinbeck. In the Garden of Beasts. Erik Larson. Jon Kabat-Zinn , Ph. Born to Run. Christopher McDougall.
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