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  • Ryan Wittler

A 1972 Study Predicted Society Will Collapse This Century, New Research Shows We’re Right on Track


Now that we’ve given you some good news, buckle the f**k up because research suggesting we’re headed straight for societal collapse is picking up steam.

Some history:

Fifty years ago, a team of MIT scientists studying the risk of civilizational collapse found that if corporations and governments continued to pursue economic growth, no matter the cost, civilization was bound to collapse.

They outlined 12 possible scenarios predicting a point in time where natural resources will be depleted, ending all possible economic growth and leading to personal welfare plummeting.

The “Business as Usual” (BAU) scenario was the most famous, predicting that the world’s economic growth would peak in the 2040s and fall sharply thereafter, eventually leading to zero food availability and the complete depletion of natural resources.

So where are we today?

Research published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology found that the world is on track for two of the 12 scenarios: the BAU scenario outlined above, and the “Comprehensive Technology” scenario in which advancements in technology do prolong economic growth and availability of resources, though still inevitably lead to the complete loss of life.

What can we do?

According to Vice, the best available data shows humanity will decide its fate over the next 10-years, and while we tightrope our way through it, the author of the paper, Gaya Herrington, hopes the most important implication of her work is that there’s indeed time left.

As Herrington told Vice, the rapid development and deployment of vaccines during the pandemic shows the world is capable of implementing fast-acting and far-reaching change, making clear it really isn’t too late for humanity.

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