GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Is Global Collapse Imminent?



The Limits to Growth “standard run” (or business-as-usual, BAU) scenario produced about forty years
ago aligns well with historical data that has been updated in this paper. The BAU scenario results in
collapse of the global economy and environment (where standards of living fall at rates faster than
they have historically risen due to disruption of normal economic functions), subsequently forcing
population down. Although the modelled fall in population occurs after about 2030—with death
rates rising from 2020 onward, reversing contemporary trends—the general onset of collapse first
appears at about 2015 when per capita industrial output begins a sharp decline. Given this imminent
timing, a further issue this paper raises is whether the current economic difficulties of the global
financial crisis are potentially related to mechanisms of breakdown in the Limits to Growth BAU
scenario. In particular, contemporary peak oil issues and analysis of net energy, or energy return
on (energy) invested, support the Limits to Growth modelling of resource constraints underlying the