The Age of Limits Resource Page
an introduction to the concepts of Limits to Growth

Reports from The Post Carbon Institute
with our thanks
 PCHeinbergLimits  PCHeinbergMiracle  PCRyersonPop  PCWhippleOil

Economics for the future – Beyond the superorganism

by Nate Hagens
Excerpted from Ecological Economics, Volume 169, March 2020

“We have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.”

Industrial 0034 900x450Prologue:

Nate Hagens is a deep thinker in understanding the emergent Age of Limits. What follows is a digest of his longer article explaining the basic thermodynamics of our global predicament. Using a systems approach, Hagens examines the evolution of basic human behaviors, our  ‘unlocking’ of fossilized resources and the explosion of growth they allowed. The function of debt as a social contract that accelerates growth, the role of growth as the requirement of our industrial model, and the terminal phase of that model in negative returns on increasing complexity, resource exhaustion and climate catastrophe. This is heavy reading and not for the faint of heart. Hagens offers no easy “problems” or “solutions.’ Only the necessary first step of understanding where we are. 
       – Orren P Whiddon.


• We lack a cohesive map on how behavior, economy, and the environment interconnect.
• Global human society is functioning as an energy dissipating superorganism.
• Climate change is but one of many symptoms emergent from this growth dynamic.
• Culturally, this “Superorganism” doesn’t need to be the destiny of Homo sapiens.
• A systems economics can inform the ‘reconstruction’ after financial recalibration.

Ecological Economics addresses the relationships between ecosystems and economic systems in the broadest sense.– Robert Costanza

“The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.” – E.O. Wilson

“We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.” – Jean Baudrillard

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

Read more ...

Fallen EmpireThe Age of Limits: Now, the Deluge

by Orren P. Whiddon

“Historically,  empires in decline invest ever-greater energy and complexity in a self-consuming cycle of diminishing returns...”

I am an unapologetic, dirt-worshippin’, now balding but once pony-tailed, back-to-the-land, never say die hippy. A child of the sixties, now pushin’ sixty. I have heated with wood since I was 22, killed my TV set in 1983, never owned a new car and spent 12 years designing clinical radioactivity detector systems in the Washington DC yeast-plex... while living in a log cabin. Can you say “cultural schizophrenia?”.

Read more ...

The Conversation We Need to Have

 John Michael Greer

We’ve all experienced it: the kind of conversation everyone knows has to happen sooner or later, and nobody wants to have to face. Casual talk edges around it, jokes fail to get a laugh because they brush too close to it, silences open up because there’s no way to keep talking without crossing that line and facing it openly. Then, finally, somebody draws in a deep breath and says the thing that has to be said; chairs get pulled closer around into a circle, and a sense of relief cuts through the discomfort as the conversation begins at last.

That’s the kind of conversation we need to have now, and the subject is the end of industrial society.

Read more ...

GuyMacPherson     Only Love Remains

        by Guy McPherson



         Most people would say I’m not religious. I’m not spiritually religious, although I exhibit some behaviors in a religious manner. I refer to myself as a free-thinker, a skeptic, and occasionally an indifferent agnostic or a militant atheist. So the apparently spiritual title of this essay would seem out of character for those who know me.

I’ll not wander down the road of knowing me. Even after five decades of study, much of it characterized by the serious introspection allowed those who pursue the life of the mind in the halls of academia, I barely know myself. And I know too little about love. But I’m pretty certain it’s all we have.

Read more ...

Sense of Perspective
by Kurt Griffith

For self-employed people, the sins of August, where we went to Sun Dance at Four Quarters, are visited upon September. The penance of October is not manifest ‘til November. When self-employed folk go on vacation, we pay for it twice. Once for the vacation, and again for the time not working. September was pretty darn lean in my studio. Meanwhile, with the current economic meltdown on Wall Street, I and just about everybody I know have been watching our net worths bounce like a fat kid on a trampoline with the springs coming undone one by one. Bad timing for our family, as for the first time, I got to see the “Line of Credit” line lit up on our statements. In a word, ouch. But our situation of not particularly unique, or so severe compared to many others.

As I watched the financial and economic crisis deepen, I took a long look and made a few observations.

Read more ...
Page 1 of 2