Sunday, August 14, 2011


The "base case" or "standard run" of the first edition (1972) of "The Limits to Growth". Note how the start of the decline of the industrial and agricultural world production occurred around the start of the second decade of the 21st century

What is most impressive in the recent world events is not so much that the authors of "The Limits to Growth" may have predicted with incredible accuracy in 1972 the start of the decline of the world's economic system, evidenced today by the financial crisis. After all, they presented several scenarios with different results. That the "base case" scenario, the one they deemed the most likely on the basis of the available data, may turn out to be right is impressive, yes, but it may have been also a bit of luck.

It is not even so impressive that "The Limits to Growth" was criticized, demonized and ridiculed in every possible way before being consigned to the dustbin of the wrong scientific theories. After all, in 1972 it was difficult to believe that it could be possible to foresee a crisis that was to occur 40 years in the future.

No, what is really impressive is that in the newspapers, in TV, or in the speeches of those who can take decisions, no one is asking what is happening and why.


See also my book on "Revisiting the Limits to Growth"


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)