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Unlimited Growth Is Impossible in a System with Limits

06/20/2011

Most economists don’t acknowledge that. Which is unfortunate, since economists are supposed to understand simple math.

The concept of economic expansion is a foolish one. Our society is obsessed with having more–that is, more than however much we happen to currently possess.

In the coming decades (maybe sooner) this more-mania will encounter several limits. And by ‘encounter’ I mean collide with head-on. Things that will start running out shortly include phosphorus, metals, land, oil, water and food.

Jeremy Grantham is a co-founder of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo, a top asset management firm that stewards $108 billion in assets. He has a history of predicting financial bubbles.

During a recent presentation, Grantham said the following:

The world is using up its natural resources at an alarming rate, and this has caused a permanent [upward] shift in their value. We all need to adjust our behaviour to this new environment. It would help if we did it quickly.

Check out this summary of Grantham’s presentation for more about humanity’s last bubble.

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