Society is right on track for a global collapse, new study of infamous 1970s report finds - Deepstash
Society is right on track for a global collapse, new study of infamous 1970s report finds

Society is right on track for a global collapse, new study of infamous 1970s report finds

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Human society is on track for a collapse in the next two decades if there isn't a serious shift in global priorities, according to a new reassessment of a 1970s report, Vice reported.

"The Limits to Growth" was published in 1972. It argued that industrial civilization was bound to collapse if corporations and governments continued to pursue continuous economic growth. The researchers forecasted 12 possible scenarios for the future, most of which predicted a point where natural resources would become scarce.


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The BAU Scenario

The BAU Scenario

The report's most infamous scenario — the Business as Usual (BAU) scenario — predicted that the world's economic growth would peak around the 2040s, then take a sharp downturn, along with the global population, food availability and natural resources. This imminent "collapse" wouldn't be the end of the human race, but rather a societal turning point that would see standards of living drop around the world for decades, the team wrote.


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Comprehensive Technology(CT) Scenario

Comprehensive Technology(CT) Scenario

Herrington found that the current state of the world — measured through 10 different variables, including population, fertility rates, pollution levels, food production and industrial output — aligned extremely closely with two of the scenarios proposed in 1972, namely the BAU scenario and one called Comprehensive Technology (CT), in which technological advancements help reduce pollution and increase food supplies, even as natural resources run out.


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"[The BAU] and CT scenarios show a halt in growth within a decade or so from now," Herrington wrote in her study. "Both scenarios thus indicate that continuing business as usual, that is, pursuing continuous growth, is not possible."


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Stabilized World (SW) Scenario

Stabilized World (SW) Scenario

Imagine a future where human population, pollution and economic growth rise in tandem while natural resources decline. Or imagine a world where humans decide to deliberately limit economic growth on their own, before a lack of resources forces them to. This is the Stabilized World (SW) scenario.


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A change in values and policies translates into, amongst other things, low desired family size, perfect birth control availability, and a deliberate choice to limit industrial output and prioritize health and education services.

"On a graph of the SW scenario, industrial growth and global population begin to level out shortly after this shift in values occurs.Food availability continues to rise to meet the needs of the global population; pollution declines and all but disappears; and the depletion of natural resources begins to level out, too.


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The Conclusion

The Conclusion

Herrington told the rapid development and deployment of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to human ingenuity in the face of global crises. It's entirely possible, Herrington said, for humans to respond similarly to the ongoing climate crisis.

"It's not yet too late for humankind to purposefully change course to significantly alter the trajectory of [the] future," Herrington concluded in her study. "Effectively, humanity can either choose its own limit or at some point reach an imposed limit, at which time a decline in human welfare will have become unavoidable."


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