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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Herrington told Vice.com 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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking at the rise and fall of historical civilizations, the forces that precipitate or delay a collapse can tell us about our own.
We can define collapse as a rapid and enduring loss of population, identity, and socio-economic complexity. Public services fold, and chaos ensues as the government loses control.
Some past civilizations recovered, such as the Chinese and Egyptian. Other collapses were permanent. Sometimes the epicenter is revived, such as Rome. In other cases, they are left abandoned, as was the case with the Mayan ruins.
The World Economic Forum defines competitiveness as the "set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country."
Another way to view it is to consider how it promotes wellbeing. A competitive economy is productive, leading to growth, increased income levels, and hopefully improved wellbeing.
People in societies such as ancient Greece, imperial China, Medieval Europe, and colonial America did not measure people's well-being in terms of monetary earnings or economic output.
In the mid- 19th century, the United States and other industrializing nations such as England and Germany moved away from this historical pattern. They started to measure progress in monetary value and social welfare based on the ability to create income.
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