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The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality [Paperback]

Richard Heinberg
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Oct 2011
Economists insist that recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to drop, and governments stagger under record deficits. "The End of Growth" proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. The expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable, natural limits. Richard Heinberg's latest landmark work goes to the heart of the ongoing financial crisis, explaining how and why it occurred, and what we must do to avert the worst potential outcomes. Written in an engaging, highly readable style, it shows why growth is being blocked by three factors: Resource depletion, Environmental impacts, and Crushing levels of debt. These converging limits will force us to re-evaluate cherished economic theories, and to reinvent money and commerce. "The End of Growth" describes what policy makers, communities and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth's budget of energy and resources. We can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than continuing to pursue the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding Gross Domestic Product.

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The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality + Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet + Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Clairview Books (11 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905570333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905570331
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Read this book and have the light switched on! - Caroline Lucas, MP

About the Author

RICHARD HEINBERG is the author of nine award-winning books including The Party's Over, Powerdown, Peak Everything and Blackout. He is a Senior Fellow of the Post carbon Institute, and is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators. He is a recipient of the M. King Hubbert Award for excellence in energy education, and since 2002 has given over 400 lectures on fossil fuel depletion to audiences around the world. He has been published in Nature, the world's premiere scientific journal; he has been quoted in Time magazine; he has been featured in television and theatrical documentaries including Leonardo Dicaprio's 11th Hour; and he has been interviewed on national radio and television in many countries. To learn more about Richard and his work, visit

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Growth of Understanding 22 July 2011
I sent off for an advance copy of End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economics Reality a few weeks ago. Having heard Richard Heinberg give a talk a while back, and receiving his regular Museletters, my expectations were high. I was not disappointed. The man has an incredible gift for making complexity appear simple, and for delivering unpalatable facts with gentle irony. The historical development of the modern economy is laid bare, our current predicament is there for all to see, and the only rational solution is given a thorough airing. Buy it for your friends, buy it for business people large and small. It is an essential primer for building the future.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very economically authoritative book which convincingly argues a profound environmentalist, paradigm changing point. The author is a key member of the 'Post Carbon Institute' and in this book he explains why the fundamental economic truth of our time is that we are travelling beyond the period where cheap carbon based fossil fuels can foster perpetual economic growth. The arguments in this book could also be perceived as opening up a third side in the government debt verses austerity debate. Keynesian economists, such as Paul Krugman, may have to recognise that they now have to engage on two fronts, with the unlikely pairing of right wing conservatives, and now these green type groups, both pitted against them. Although in agreement with many of the anti free markets views of Krugman and others regarding the causes of the recession, Heinberg characterises government stimulus as "The Bridge to Nowhere", in that energy and non renewable resource scarcity will prevent a return to long term economic growth.

"The Keynesians still see the world through the lens of the Great Depression. During the 1930s, industrialised countries were in the early stages of their shift from an agrarian, coal-based, rural economy to an electrified, oil-based, urban economy--a shift that required enormous infrastructure investments (in new highways, airports, dams, and power lines) that would ultimately pay off handsomely for a nation on the verge of realising a consumer utopia. All that was needed to initiate the building of that infrastructure was credit--grease for the wheels of commerce. Government got those wheels rolling by taking on debt, with private companies increasingly taking the lead after World War II.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inescapable logic 15 Feb 2012
By SimonT
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The End of Growth brings together the crises of Peak Oil, the climate and the financial crash to give a view of a world that cannot go on living beyond its limits. It should be required reading for every politician who talks about a return to 'steady growth'. The good news is that there are lots of things we can do to prepare for a radically different future. Start by reading this excellent book!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading 28 Nov 2011
By F. Ryan
Richard Heinberg is one of the most clued in thinkers around. The lack of any questioning of infinite growth on a finite planet was starting to bug me big time. The book covers all the major structural impediments that are causing the end of growth. The first section about the financial problems is thorough but doesn't add anything new if you follow the financial problems and causes already. Very good overview/crash course if you don't.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The End of Growth isn't all bad news 6 Sep 2012
Heinberg is good company as he describes the coming Armageddon; the financial collapse is not an aberration to be fixed but the end of civilization, as we know it. He expertly details the three reasons why: resources are running out; environmental impacts are approaching tipping points and debt-based economics fail under the inevitable strain of sagging confidence.

Given the perennial problem of increasing population growth compounded by increasing consumption I don't need to be convinced, I wanted to more rapidly get into exploring the post-growth world.

Heinberg has to be thorough because he remains a marginalized voice drowned out against the braying of politicians and media who perennially obsess over increasing growth even as the impossibility is writ large in the world around us.

Heinberg laments that governments want to return us to "a life of carefree motoring through anonymous suburbs" even whilst every day that passes and every gallon of fuel burnt is wasted if it is not preparing us for Peak Everything; the steady decline in supply of the nutrients of the conventional economy.

From now on, to maintain and improve our quality of life, we need to be able to take care of ourselves and our loved ones without depending on mega-corps shifting the fundamentals of life (energy, food, water) around in the giant mechanical web of fossil burning machines which has, for this brief moment in history, become ubiquitous.

Heinberg demonstrates that investing now in renewable energy, low carbon food production, and local resilience could avoid catastrophe but acknowledges that governments and business, trapped in short-term planning cycles, may drive `business-as-usual' over the precipice of collapse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading 23 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a real eye-opener and shows that the common assumption that we can continue to grow the economy at 2% to 3% per year is invalid.

In fact it is complete nonsense.

We live on a planet of limited reserves and even worse, they are being consumed fast. Not only can we not grow, we are reaching the point where contraction will be forced upon us because we'll have run out of essential commodities or they will become so expensive to mine, we can't afford them.

To be honest, in some ways, the message of the book is too overwhelming as it ties together so many different strands of our everyday lives and shows that even if we dodge one bullet, there are a succession of others waiting to get us.

Because of this, you might find it helpful to read Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over first. This does a great job of explaining that we live in two different economies that should run parallel to each other - a money economy and an energy economy. Unfortunately they are diverging fast and that means a sharp shock downwards in prosperity.

My only criticism of these books are that they are big on problems, short on answers. To be fair, we must all understand the problem before we will accept the political and economic consequences of the viable solutions.

It's easy to ignore the messages of these books because we don't want the outcomes to be true.

I don't want it to be cold and wet tomorrow but I'll go out prepared with a thick coat and an umbrella just in case.

Anything positive and helpful we do in advance of being forced to react to the crises will help.

Read this book. It's time to be very worried about the future.
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