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Yes! There are Limits – Economic Growth and Sustainability

By: , Posted on: January 6, 2017

economic growth and stability

Can we maintain our present quality of life while preserving the well-being of our grandchildren?

How do we ensure that future generations will have food and water, economic stability, energy and a hospitable climate?

Are there limits to the growth that fuels our lifestyles?

Such big questions deserve big answers.  However, the questions are far too complex to resolve using a conventional approach.  They must be viewed holistically and must account for all critical elements.  Systems thinking – a discipline which considers relationships and interactions – is an ideal tool for understanding the dilemmas hidden in these questions.  It can broaden our perspective and help us identify potential solutions to these dilemmas.

Drawing on this systems thinking approach, the attached presentation walks us through a search for answers, pulling us from depressing circumstances toward hopeful prospects.  Images illustrate how the growth that fuels our society also threatens the sustainability of life as we know it.  We learn that there are limits to this growth.  We also find that our erroneous mental models hinder our ability to overcome these threats.  Fortunately, we can reframe our thinking to understand the reality of our situation.  By describing the interactions among economy, population, environment and well-being, the presentation shows an integrated strategy that focuses action in areas where our efforts will have the greatest effects.  When we understand that “everything is connected” and that we must achieve a balance among all the elements in our “system,” we have hope for a solution.

Notes provided in downloaded version of PPT

If you enjoyed this presentation, you may be interested in Karen Higgins book Economic Growth and Sustainability: Systems Thinking for a Complex World. The book is currently available via the Elsevier Store at up to 30% off the list price. Apply discount code SOCIAL315 and receive free shipping too!

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Economics & Finance

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