The 3 conclusions of “The Limits to Growth”

June 29, 2017


  1. The planet is small
    (Resource constraints are likely within 100 years if growth continue)

  2. Overshoot is likely
    (Current systems of governance are likely to allow human activity to grow beyond the finite carrying capacity of the planet)

  3. Once in overshoot, physical contraction is unavoidable
    (Either managed or by the forces of nature or the market)


What should be done? – Realistically


  1. Further slow population growth
    Give moral support to women with < 2.1 children
    Increase the pension age
    Explain that support burden will stay constant


  2. Cut CO2 emissions – first in the rich world
    Subsidize energy efficiency in all sectors
    Build no new fossil capacity in the rich world
    Introduce a high carbon price


  3. Reduce poverty in the poor world
    Use most development aid to build renewable energy capacity
    Copy the rise of Japan, South Korea, and China –and their use of strong government


  4. Reduce the ecological footprint of the rich world
    Legislate more compulsory vacation
    Give each person the right to a certain amount of
    paid work (“ration paid work”)


  5. Temper national short termism
    Establish a global agreement where all nations
    promise to emit less CO2 than the US
    Evolve IPCC to IPCC3 (funded to execute the most effective cuts)


  6. Reduce the focus on income growth
    Start measuring change in well - being alongside change in GDP



Professor Jørgen Randers
BI Norwegian Business School

Oslo, Norway


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