Okay, so that’s what we’re looking at – the End of Consumerism. As this article from New Zealand states, its maybe not the end of the world. But we are reaching the limitations of growth.
It all comes down to the law of dimishing returns. The term Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) is used to show the ratio of how much energy is required to extract it from source. In basic terms, this means the lower the ratio of the two, the cheaper the end product; the higher, the greater the price. As oil reserves become more difficult to extract – requiring more energy investment to continue prospecting – so supply starts to decline and is outstripped by demand. Overall, this could be very bad news for the future growth propects of the world economy.
However, the article does state that economic failure and the end of consumerism is something that we’ll get used to eventually. We may well but there will probably be a lot of pain in the meantime (might not be quite as bad as Dragon Line, though!) Whilst many think that its human population and inventiveness that drives growth (and that this makes it limitless), the article refers to an academic called Charles Hall. He states that the primary source of economic expansion is (and has been since the Industrial Revolution) the input of fossil fuels. If this input is reduced, then the chances are that economic growth will decline with it.
Do you agree? Check out the article here to read more and see what you think: