Club of Rome

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Dr. Jorgen Randers, Co-Author of Limits to Growth, presenting at Club of Rome meeting in Bucharest, 2010.

The Club of Rome is a global think tank that deals with a variety of international political issues.  Founded in 1968 at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, Italy, the Club of Rome describes itself as “a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity.”  It consists of current and former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, high-level politicians and government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists and business leaders from around the globe.

The club states that its mission is “to act as a global catalyst for change through the identification and analysis of the crucial problems facing humanity and the communication of such problems to the most important public and private decision makers as well as to the general public.”

Limits to Growth

1972 Softcover Edition

The Club of Rome raised considerable public attention with its report Limits to Growth, which has sold 30 million copies in more than 30 translations, making it the best-selling environmental book in world history.  Published in 1972 and presented for the first time at the International Students’ Committee (ISC) annual Management Symposium in St. Gallen, Switzerland, it asserted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil.  The 1973 oil crisis increased public concern about this problem.

The Limits to Growth study was quickly ridiculed and attacked by proponents of the existing mainstream establishment of growth economics, and those whose assumptions, careers, and dominance over society it questioned and threatened.  While critics of the report were vocal, it could be debated but not disproven.  The scenarios it presented in broad terms are still applicable as the global economy stumbles and falters under the internal contradictions of the presumption that infinite economic growth is both possible and desirable, and repercussions of the ecological and climate damage that such growth has spawned grow exponentially as well.