Here’s a two-in one podcast special featuring Richard Heinberg. First up is a segment from our friends at The Extraenviromentalist Podcast, followed by a Q&A between Heinberg and the Post-Carbon Institute.
Heinberg on The Extraenviromentalist:
European economies are teetering on the brink of collapse as low rates of GDP growth are no longer able to justify continued investments in piles of debt. On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States is struggling to acknowledge its ever larger ranks of underemployed and unemployed while managing the world’s largest national debt. Now that the American debt to GDP ratio has surpassed 100% can the nation ever return to a state of stability? Is this just a prolonged recession or has our system of economic growth suddenly and radically changed forever?
In Extraenvironmentalist #28 we speak with Richard Heinberg about his most recent book The End of Growth which uses data on global economies and international energy supplies to argue that the paradigm of economic growth has ended forever. Richard says that while our economies will still grow in the future, they’ll be constrained to lower and lower rates of growth that won’t be able to support money systems and financial obligations. If the global economy follows a prolonged period of contraction driven by depleted energy availability, what will this do to our notions of technology and society? We discuss how global contraction will impact trends of specialization, urbanization and wealth accumulation. Seth and I ask if the end of economic growth has to be fraught with strife or if life after growth can lead to a richer existence.
Heinberg on The Post Carbon Institute:
“Economists, politicians, and pundits insist recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments face record deficits. Today’s guest, Richard Heinberg has a new book, The End of Growth, in which he proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. He talks about the new normal that recognizes the limits to growth imposed by resource and disposal limits, climate change, and population growth.”