Collision Course

Collision Course

Endless Growth on A Finite Planet

Book - 2014
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The story behind the reckless promotion of economic growth despite its disastrous consequences for life on the planet.

The notion of ever-expanding economic growth has been promoted so relentlessly that "growth" is now entrenched as the natural objective of collective human effort. The public has been convinced that growth is the natural solution to virtually all social problems--poverty, debt, unemployment, and even the environmental degradation caused by the determined pursuit of growth. Meanwhile, warnings by scientists that we live on a finite planet that cannot sustain infinite economic expansion are ignored or even scorned. In Collision Course, Kerryn Higgs examines how society's commitment to growth has marginalized scientific findings on the limits of growth, casting them as bogus predictions of imminent doom.

Higgs tells how in 1972, The Limits to Growth --written by MIT researchers Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and William Behrens III--found that unimpeded economic growth was likely to collide with the realities of a finite planet within a century. Although the book's arguments received positive responses initially, before long the dominant narrative of growth as panacea took over. Higgs explores the resistance to ideas about limits, tracing the propagandizing of "free enterprise," the elevation of growth as the central objective of policy makers, the celebration of "the magic of the market," and the ever-widening influence of corporate-funded think tanks--a parallel academic universe dedicated to the dissemination of neoliberal principles and to the denial of health and environmental dangers from the effects of tobacco to global warming. More than forty years after The Limits to Growth , the idea that growth is essential continues to hold sway, despite the mounting evidence of its costs--climate destabilization, pollution, intensification of gross global inequalities, and depletion of the resources on which the modern economic edifice depends.

Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780262027731
0262027739
Branch Call Number: 330.9 H536C 2014
Characteristics: xxv, 384 pages ; 23 cm

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StarGladiator
Mar 16, 2016

//Since the World Bank is virtually the only institution generating relevant data \\ certainly not an academic, nor researcher, I would ever hire or refer to anyone after making such an insipid statement as that!
Strongly suggest any reader first read, or read side-by-side with this, Donald Gibson's far superior book, Wealth, Power, and the Crisis of Laissez Faire Capitalism.

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louploup
Mar 15, 2016

Higgs never intended to give solutions. The entire point of the book is to explain how (and to a lesser extend why) the scientific knowledge grounded on systems analysis in the mid-20th Century that there is a finite number of people who can be sustained on this earth—culminating in the 1972 publication of Limits to Growth by Meadows et al.—was suppressed. Higgs' explanations are clear and references to historical events and sources are very useful.

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Liber_vermis
Mar 30, 2015

The author devotes too much of this book to the propaganda campaigns opposing stabilized populations, climate action, and renewable energy. As the author notes in her final paragraph of the "Conclusion" chapter: "My object has been to illuminate the reasons for the ideological dominance of growth. ... It remains for others to invent pathways to solutions ... Structural change is indispensable." I was disappointed - but the author provides an Appendix with links to academics, activists and organizations that may provide specific solutions. A lengthy and up-to-date bibliography is provided; and endnotes and an index.

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