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Managing without Growth, Second Edition

Slower by Design, not Disaster

Peter A. Victor

Ten years after the publication of the first edition of this influential book, the evidence is even stronger that human economies are overwhelming the regenerative capacity of the planet. This book explains why long-term economic growth is infeasible, and why, especially in advanced economies, it is also undesirable. Simulations based on real data show that managing without growth is a better alternative
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Chapter 6: Limits to growth – sinks and services

Peter A. Victor


Virtually all of the materials and all of the energy that enters the economic system is disposed of as waste. When the disposal of wastes exceeds the capacity of the biosphere to absorb them the consequences can be bad for humans and other species. The ‘sinks’ overflow and the ‘services’ that nature provides diminish. The conversion of land for agriculture and settlements can exacerbate these problems especially when habitat is destroyed, which is a major cause of the ‘sixth extinction’. At the global level the concept of planetary boundaries has been introduced to help humanity avoid crossing thresholds that would cause irreversible damage to the environment. The data shows that as economies grow, many of these problems increase. Examples are provided covering climate change, CFCs and lead, nuclear wastes, forests, oceans and fresh water.

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