This is a shout-out to Tim Worstall’s latest “Weekend Worstall” column on The Register
Limits to Growth is a pile of steaming doggy-doo based on total cobblers
The Guardian praised it? Right, now we know for sure
Keeping a technologically based civilisation on the road isn’t all that easy. There must be stuff available to make stuff from and there’s got to be energy to do the transforming of that stuff. If we posited something like The Culture by Iain M. Banks, where there’s a universe of stuff to transform and an entire universe’s worth of energy, then there’s no real limit to either how rich that society can get nor how long it can last.
Similarly, if all the stuff runs out in a few years’ time, as does all the energy, then humanity will go back to being a couple of million hunter gatherers pretty sharpish.
What we’d really like to know, of course, is which version of the universe do we inhabit: one where Paul Ehrlich is right and we all starved in the 1980s, or one in which, around 2300 or so, the Jetsons finally get their flying cars?
Fortunately we’ve had people trying to work this out for us. One example was the Club of Rome which got together to create a report called Limits to Growth.
This was very much more optimistic than Paul Ehrlich was: this report said that we should all start dying around about now as all the stuff ran out. It’s not, as we can see around us, happening quite yet. Yes, people are dying in Ukraine and Syria and so on, but that’s from an excess of high explosive being sent their way, not from a lack of it. Never mind, though, the Guardian tells us it’s about to start happening real soon now:
Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse. Four decades after the book was published, Limit to Growth’s forecasts have been vindicated by new Australian research. Expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon
Well, yes, real soon now, no doubt. And the guy who has checked this research must be believed: Graham Turner is a physicist who used to work for CSIRO in Oz. And CSIRO are just great guys: they actually cited me in one of their academic papers so they must be. So, obviously, we should all just curl up and die right now, right?