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The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  617 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews

Economists insist that recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, 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 na

ebook, 208 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by New Society Publishers (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,051)
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Keith Akers
May 23, 2016 Keith Akers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough book to review because basically, it depends on the audience. Generally, though, I like the book and agree with the thesis. Heinberg's book is right in all major respects, well-written, and important.

Please consider this a five-star review if you are asking yourself, "what's all this talk about 'peak oil'?" or if your last encounter with the idea of limits to the economy is dim memories of reading "The Limits to Growth" in the 1970's. On the other hand, if you regularly peruse t
Leland Beaumont
Dec 16, 2012 Leland Beaumont rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The book effectively uses representative and systematic data to argue we are in ecological overshoot and economic overshoot. Either one is alarming; together they sound a critical alarm; if only it can be heard!

The author distinguishes between economies—the exchange of goods and services—and economics—a money-based model of an economy. Fractional reserve banking, debt-based currencies, and displacing externalities allow the two to diverge significantly. As a result, our financial accounting syst
Feb 14, 2013 Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While reading this book I couldn't help but continually reflect back on my reading of "Abundance", by Peter Diamandis. Both are really good books with powerfully contrasting arguments and outlooks for humanity in the not so far off future. I think the two books should be read in tandem. Abundance is so overly optimistic in its views that even I was momentarily beguiled into its slipstream of persuasive perspectives on the infinite ability of technological innovation to fuel man's ambition to exp ...more
Cary Neeper
Apr 24, 2014 Cary Neeper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clearly written without an overload of details-this book makes the case for all of us.

I have never understood why mainstream economic theory ignored the impact of a huge population. Even as that impact has grown, classical economists continue to use outmoded theories of macroeconomics, ignore effects of the flow of capital, and refuse to acknowledge that there could be a limit to the resources so many billions of people use or need—like water. Isn’t that a requirement for life? Like air. Will t
Dec 24, 2011 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with the other reviewers that this book does a very good job of stating the problem, and outlining how our current economic system is done for, but doesn't offer a clear, easy solution. Well, that's because the solution won't be easy. The first step is to convince enough people of the problem. This book adds to that discussion. But, of course, is mostly preaching to the choir. It's up to those of us who have read it, and other similar books, and have seen for ourselves what is going on t ...more
Tom Currier
Nov 09, 2011 Tom Currier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific book! Highly recommended. Although great ideas, some of the solutions are so far away from any political will to implement that they seem almost impossible. The detail to which the author details the issues and causes is at times almost overwhelming.
Oct 16, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is by far the most comprehensive and honest analysis of our global economy and where it's headed than anything else I have read. A must read for anyone who is concerned about what the future might be like.
Feb 04, 2012 Jacqui rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me want to hide under the bed. The author makes a pretty compelling case that we're all hurtling toward resource depletion and financial collapse. I want my mommy.
David Buccola
Feb 11, 2015 David Buccola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book. Richard Heinberg does a great job of analyzing our current situation in a clear and sober way that still leaves plenty of hope that we have the ability to create a better world that is no longer based on infinite growth on a finite planet. The problems that loom before us seem so big that it's easy to fall into a sort of paralysis. What can we possibly do? Technology will save us! Heinberg does a great job of examining each of these in turn, and while tomorrow is guaran ...more
Apr 23, 2013 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was extremely disappointed with this book. It fails to persuade at all. I'm a massive proponent of sustainability and I also believe that GDP is an inappropriate measure for tracking the development of a sophisticated society.

The peak everything sections are OK but as with many of these writers the implication is that disaster starts now. It doesn't. Things will get worse, in terms of availability and price, with different resources at different times. The responses to each will be different a
Oct 02, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my usual genre but I enjoyed the history of economics and the fact that the author did try to put a positive spin on the future of humanity at the end. For the most part, this book provided an honest look at our situation as it is and what we are headed for. I would love to bury my head in the sand right now.
Jay C
Jan 15, 2012 Jay C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sobering analysis of the current state of the world economy, and where it is headed in the future.The basic premise is that our current rate of energy consumption and resource depletion is unsustainable, and in the shorter term than one would hope. I am not an economist nor do I fully understand all that was presented in this book. It seems logical to me, however, that these issues and questions must be raised and considered NOW rather than when a economic crisis of titanic proportions overwhe ...more
May 13, 2016 Ietrio rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
A book for concerned old white men and other European descendants. In a world of 7 billion people let's tremble about "our" economic reality. And not just any economic reality, but a "new" one. Get to the introduction and the guy declares something "dead". Armed with a steroid enhanced hindsight, Richie talks about "foreseeable" acts. Occasionally the reader will get a cute graph without much of a base. But who cares? And the smart quotes are from experienced economists with a tracked record. Li ...more
Richard Reese
Mar 22, 2015 Richard Reese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Heinberg has been a pundit on the Peak Oil beat for more than ten years. With each passing year, his awareness of diminishing resources has grown. In 2007 he redefined the problem as Peak Everything. He came to see that industrial civilization was gobbling up non-renewable resources at a rate that spelled serious problems for the generation currently alive, which included himself. Yikes!

This mind-expanding learning process provided a miraculous cure for blissful ignorance, and replaced i
Daniel Burton-Rose
Mar 16, 2012 Daniel Burton-Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: capitalism
If you've ever had the disquieting sensation that global capitalism has no long term plan beyond the infinite consumption of everything, this book provides a stark confirmation. It also offers a level-headed assessment of myriad crises and amelioration strategies on a spectrum of plausibility. The author calls for a popular movement much like what Occupy has become.
The first section on the current situation was well known for me and probably for anybody who follows economics. Th second section, the one with his answers, was a bit disapointing. Nothing very precise, many wishes, principles, but no real way to apply all those except the usual small comunities...
Sep 02, 2014 Marc rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marc by: Andre Boileau
Dry, dry, dry. I agree with his thesis and I doubt most that don't want to hear the message of restraint will. It's an academic treatment that few outside of us wonks would trudge through. I struggled to finish it since it dis seem to drone on. As a text/reference book, it's OK.
Daniel Cunningham
This book raises many interesting/serious issues, and a few interesting ideas.

I think most people probably have some idea, perhaps only very generally, that e.g. oil is not in infinite supply; fewer people may have thought about other resources (water is something folks may have heard about.) Potash, rare earths, and some others come up if you read e.g. the Economist or some other similarly serious publications (I'm guessing probably not in USA Today...)

I think less often thought about is that t
May 15, 2016 Zora marked it as couldnt-get-into  ·  review of another edition
I made it to Ch. 4. I'm a bit confused who is audience is. (He explained compound interest to me in the same way my father explained it when I was eight years old. Really, does any adult not already know this?) Something interesting about books written on the heels of the housing market collapse is that they are overly alarmist, as is this. "The end is coming and right now!!!!!!" And yet here we are.... I'm certainly not a climate change denier, and I understand oil is running out. So it's stran ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Joan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
January book group selection. Important topic, poorly written book. Michael Lewis does an infinitely better job of making economic topics readable and understandable. Plus the author gave short shrift to the "adapting" part.
Feb 13, 2012 Joshua rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you're already a reader of, Charles Hugh Smith's blog, or John Michael Greer's blog, you won't learn anything new from this book.
Apr 14, 2014 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Unlike many books of this type, I did not get bored a few chapters in because The End of Growth neither preaches nor pointlessly repeats. Richard Heinberg walks the reader slowly and carefully through the concept of the end of growth, starting with basic economics and finishing with solutions. Chapters are well laid out:

1. Economics in a nutshell
2. Economics & the "Great Recession"
3. Earth's Limits
4. Limitations to innovation & substitution
5. Competition & relative growth
6. Managing
Mick Pletcher
Nov 19, 2015 Mick Pletcher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was excellent. The book is a partial spin-off of the MIT research paper Limits to Growth. The author points out some very interesting scientific data about how humans have limited capabilities to be able to live a sustainable lifestyle due to the vast consumer market. It is caused by the 5 primitive senses that we genetically inherit. Those senses are adapted to function in our world today. The problem he points out is that because much of the problems that are plaguing and/or looming ...more
Jun 29, 2014 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment
If there is a single book out now that contains all the arguments for the post carbon decline that the world will be seeing this century, this is it. Various other authors have opined on the impossibility of endless economic growth on our finite planet, and postulated on how the future could look like in a fuel scarce world, but Heinberg does a great job on putting all the pieces together in quite a comprehensive manner, beginning with the basics and history of economic thought that has led to o ...more
May 03, 2013 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must admit the first couple of CD's were a little dry. However, as the story started to unfold, the arguments were excellent around resources leveling off (and not just oil) and what could begin to occur globally. The movement of economy's to regional / local based currency was very compelling and made me wish we had the town square in the area I live in. I grew up walking everywhere while out East, now in the suburbs of the Midwest, you do need to drive everywhere for everything.

Another one of
Jun 09, 2012 Marshall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book argues that our economy is shifting in a fundamental and unprecedented way, from a growth-based economy to a steady-state economy. The reason is a number of factors that all seem to be converging at once: debt crises, environmental crises, and resource depletion. This book does tend to be overly alarmist, and toward the end it's overly optimistic about grassroots movements, but for the most part it makes an impressive case.

I hadn't fully appreciated how much our debt- and growth-based
Sep 30, 2011 Book rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard Heinberg

“The End of Growth …” is the enlightening financial reality of our times. Accomplished author Richard Heinberg makes the compelling argument that we can no longer sustain growth because of the following three factors: resource depletion, negative environmental impacts and crushing levels of debt. This insightful 336-page book is composed of the following seven chapters: 1. The Great Balloon Race, 2. The Sound of Air Escap
Nov 25, 2011 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
If there was an option to give a book three-and-a-half stars, then that's probably what I'd give "The End of Growth." Nevertheless, the book was somewhat disappointing.

Heinberg's examination of economic theories was mostly weak, with the exception of bringing to light economic models that either incorporate or are based upon ecological principles. The weakness is tied to his review of Keynes and Hayek. He addresses their differences but glosses over some finer-grained, but no less important, det
Jan 26, 2012 Ariadna73 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economy
Check out my comment on this book in my Spanish blog: This book is divided in three parts. In the first one; the author shows the arguments to support the fact that growth is a past thing. No matter what they say; the economies are not going to grow any more. Businesses are not going to double their profit year after year; and households are not going to have raises in their income (even smaller ones). This is a fact; and can be terrifying because we have ...more
David Golibersuch
Nov 01, 2011 David Golibersuch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tough slog because it is information and data dense -- definitely not bedside reading. Heinberg presents a very disturbing view of the future.

Early in the book he notes that Malthus missed the mark because he failed to see many important future events. Will Heinberg's forecast suffer the same fate?

As Neils Bohr said - "Prediction is difficult especially of the future." The reason, of course, is that there are many events that are unknown to our imagination and thus impossible to predict -- th
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“The end of economic growth does not necessarily mean we’ve reached the end of qualitative improvements in human life.” 2 likes
“the existing market economy has no “stable” or “neutral” setting: there is only growth or contraction.” 0 likes
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