European economies are teetering on the brink of collapse as low rates of GDP growth are no longer able to justify continued investments in piles of debt. On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States is struggling to acknowledge its ever larger ranks of underemployed and unemployed while managing the world's largest national debt. Now that the American debt to GDP ratio has surpassed 100% can the nation ever return to a state of stability? Is this just a prolonged recession or has our system of economic growth suddenly and radically changed forever?
In Extraenvironmentalist #28 we speak with Richard Heinberg about his most recent book The End of Growth which uses data on global economies and international energy supplies to argue that the paradigm of economic growth has ended forever. Richard says that while our economies will still grow in the future, they'll be constrained to lower and lower rates of growth that won't be able to support money systems and financial obligations. If the global economy follows a prolonged period of contraction driven by depleted energy availability, what will this do to our notions of technology and society? We discuss how global contraction will impact trends of specialization, urbanization and wealth accumulation. Seth and I ask if the end of economic growth has to be fraught with strife or if life after growth can lead to a richer existence.
// Music (in order of appearance)
Navet - Leave and Let Go (Niva Remix) via Niva Bandcamp
Bill Cagle and the Spirit of '68 - The Other Ninety Nine via WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Washed Out - Call it Off via Pretty Much Amazing
Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys (Yeasaer Remix) via Stereogum
Camo & Crooked - James Bond Theme (Official Rework) via The Music Ninja
// Extended Clips (in order of appearance)
Oakland Revolt: Occupy Cop Crackdown via RT
Oakland-DC-NYC: Occupy dot-to-dot to make big picture via RT
Robert Newman's History of Oil
David Suzuki speaking at the University of British Columbia Chan Centre on November 3rd, 2011