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Published on December 11th, 2013 | by Jo


Limits to Growth: Beyond the point of inflexion

A little over forty years ago an international team led by Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jørgen Randers and William Behrens III carried out a major study of growth in five key areas; population, agricultural production, natural resources, industrial production and pollution. The team concluded that, if current trends continued, limits to growth would be realised within one hundred years with a sudden and uncontrollable decline in population and industrial capacity. Many of the projections on resources and pollution proved to be incorrect, with technological advances reversing trends. However the central (mathematical) result, that continued exponential growth is not sustainable indefinitely, is indisputable, and we have now entered an era, beyond the point of inflexion, where the rate of population growth is slowing.

Is economic growth forever sustainable? What impact would a stagnant or declining population have on GDP? Can mathematical models guide policy makers in answering these questions? What is the strategic plan for planet earth?

The Limits to Growth symposium on Wednesday 11th December will consist of talks and question time by the following prominent keynote speakers:

  • Professor Graciella Chichilnisky: Professor of Economics at Columbia University and architect of the carbon market mechanism in the UN Kyoto Protocol.
  • Ross Gittins AM: Economics editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and economics columnist at The Age.
  • Professor Clive Hamilton AM FRSA: Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philisophy and Public Ethics and author of books including Growth Fetish, Requiem for a Species and Earthmasters.
  • Dr Ken Henry AC: Economist, Former Secretary of the Department of Treasury, Chair of Australia¹s Future Tax System Review;  Chair of White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century.
  • Graeme Maxton: Economist and author, specificially of The End of Progress and a regular contributor to The Economist¹s The World in Š publication.
  • Peter Harper: Deputy Australian Statistician for the Population, Labour and Social Statistics Group at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Environmental Economic Accounting
  • Professor Jørgen Randers: Professor of climate strategy at BI Norwegian Business School and prolific author, specifically the co-author of Limits to Growth and author of 2052.
  • Professor Peter Victor: Professor in Environmental Studies, Former President of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science, author of Managing without Growth: Smaller by Design, Not Disaster.

Several of the above speakers will participate in a public panel discussion and Q & A event on Thursday 12th December in UNSW’s Leighton Hall, which will be facilitated by Ticky Fullerton (journalist for the ABC and presenter of The Business).

Price – General Admission  $50.00

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Date(s) – 11/12/2013
9:00 am – 5:30 pm


Parade Theatre, NIDA

Event Type

Higher Education

General admission – $50

Contact Name
Bruce Henry

Contact Email

Event Website


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