Richard Heinberg: The End of Growth Economy

A 30-minute crash course (so to speak) in why the economy can’t and won’t keep on mindlessly “growing.” Haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but Heinberg has been predicting the end of oil for many years (his first book: “The Party’s Over”), and is very concerned with its implications for life on Earth. The lecture begins like this:

“World economic growth as we’ve known it is essentially over. . . .the process of harnessing fossil fuels has given us economic growth. There wasn’t much economic growth until the last couple of hundred years [and the industrial revolution]. Money began to be reformed from gold- and silver-backed into fiat currencies. They’re expandable and contractable, but the way we create them is through creation of debt. Money is loaned into existence. So all of our money is tied to debt, and there’s also the requirement for payment of the interest on that debt. This works, as long as the economy is growing. It’s essentially a pyramid scheme. Today’s debt is underwritten by tomorrow’s growth.

“We know that the fossil fuel age will come to an end [and we are in the general period of maximum oil production] but what else will ride down that curve with it. That’s a very big question. . . .

“Should the bankers go to jail? Absolutely.”

 

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