This review is from: The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (Paperback)
The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg, a review by the Cote azur Men's Book Group
For some years now the world has been in thrall to an ever growing financial and economic nightmare that seemingly baffles our leaders. A cloud of black austerity blankets much of the developed world. Are we at a tipping point in the global economy?If so what does that mean? From Wall Street to Threadneedle Street the financial gurus feebly led by politicians, have offered hair shirts whilst engaging in quantitative easing,pouring millions if not trillions of dollars and pounds into a black hole of debt.Those experts who believe this is like beating a dead donkey are supported by Mr Heinberg who analyses the situation and cautions about the future.He examines everything that is vital to the well being of all societies with a clear exposition of the financial jiggery pokery that ignited the initial collapse of monitory systems. He argues that the growth that has been essential to the economic development in the past is at risk.We are living in a world of increasing debt, public and private at the same time as we are depleting the world's resources. The system is only held together by a blind faith that the economy will continue to grow,
The Cote d'azur Group admired the author's command of his subject and the assured manner in which he draws all subjects, from politics to the environment and natural resources together. Brilliant! But the Group would have liked some better clues of how we can get out of the current mess. A slowdown in growth is inevitable, he says and many countries are still living in a financial fantasy world. He points out that the "odd man out" is Germany, who took advantage of wages deals with workers to supply cheaper Mercedes cars to the Greeks, aided by Berlin's political decision to keep wages down.Meanwhile countries like France and the United Kingdom were gripped by the credit card mania. Thanks to its status, Germany paid far less than many countries to borrow and investors shied away from the profligacy they saw in other countries.Surely Mr Heinberg has a solution? Well, he offers help and says it is vital to make strategic plans to deal with migration which will result from environmental changes.He gives a starting almost electronic view of the future and shows us a picture of the need to feed some nine billion people halfway through this century. He says this will require major political decisions on a global basis. Most of that work and planning will be carried out by the young many of whom have already seen their expectations dented by weak economies while at the same time those at university are having to pay high fees in societies that cannot guarantee jobs. We are approaching the end of the beginning and the start of a new era.A minority of the group agreed that a energy crisis is looming but overall they did not believe economic growth will end. Mr Heinberg has no faith in alternative energies yet Mankind is very inventive and it was felt that was unlikely to end.