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The Growth Delusion

Author

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  • Bob Lloyd

    () (Department of Physics, Otago University, 730 Cumberland St., Dunedin 9016, New Zealand)

Abstract

Concern for the environment and a move towards “sustainable development” has assisted progress in a wide range of renewable energy technologies in recent years. The science suggests that a transition from fossil fuels to sustainable sources of energy in a time frame commensurate with the demise of the fossil fuels and prevention of runaway climate change is needed. However, while the movement towards sustainable energy technologies is underway, the World does not want to give up the idea of continuing economic growth. In recent times the financial collapse of October 2008 has given rise to yet another set of pleas from corporations and politicians alike to restart the growth machine. The transition to renewable energy technologies will be difficult to achieve as nowhere within existing economic and political frameworks are the limits to when growth will be curtailed being set. It is possible that the irrational insistence on endless growth as a non negotiable axiom, by a large proportion of the world’s population, may in fact be akin to the similarly irrational belief, by a similarly large proportion of the world’s population, that a supernatural being controls our existence and destiny. The irrationality of religion has recently been examined by Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion”. Dawkins’ book is used as a starting point to investigate similarities between a belief in God and a belief in continuous growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Bob Lloyd, 2009. "The Growth Delusion," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(3), pages 1-21, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:1:y:2009:i:3:p:516-536:d:5591
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lloyd, Bob & Forest, Andrew S., 2010. "The transition to renewables: Can PV provide an answer to the peak oil and climate change challenges?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7378-7394, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    growth; peak oil; climate change; religion;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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