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Is the Planet Full?$
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Ian Goldin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677771

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677771.001.0001

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Towards a Contemporary Understanding of The Limits to Growth

Towards a Contemporary Understanding of The Limits to Growth

(p.79) 5 Towards a Contemporary Understanding of The Limits to Growth
Is the Planet Full?

Ian Johnson

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 surveys what has changed since The Limits to Growth first appeared, in 1972. The chapter identifies how the concept of ‘overshoot’ advanced by Donella Meadows and associates launched a new era of systemic thinking about human sustainability and highlighted the implications of business as usual. In the subsequent years, free market ideologies have become more widespread, the chapter argues at the expense of an understanding of the public costs of market behaviour. The chapter explores the consequences with reference to oil exploration and the pricing and distribution of water resources. The failures of modern consumption, it argues, could be addressed by a return to a more systemic, holistic paradigm that departs from a too-narrow concept of GDP growth and returns to the moral philosophy about human wealth advanced in early economic history.

Keywords:   Limits to Growth, sustainability, consumption, technology, pollution, water, oil, ‘steady-state’ economics, economic theory, GDP

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