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Science & Technology

1972 report predicted societal collapse by 2040

By T.K. Randall
July 17, 2021 · Comment icon 37 comments

Are we headed for the end of modern society as we know it ? Image Credit: PD - Alfred Palmer
A 1972 MIT report predicted that modern civilization would collapse by the middle of the 21st Century.
Just under 50 years ago, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology got together to investigate the risks of societal collapse.

The system dynamics model they came up with predicted that modern industrial civilization was on course to collapse sometime around the middle of the 21st Century due to overexploitation of the planet's natural resources - something that appears dangerously close to becoming true.

While at the time the team's findings were widely criticized and misrepresented, a more recent study penned by the senior director of a major accounting firm has concluded that the MIT researchers' predictions about societal collapse should be taken a lot more seriously.

"Given the unappealing prospect of collapse, I was curious to see which scenarios were aligning most closely with empirical data today," said study author Gaya Herrington of KPMG.
"After all, the book that featured this world model was a bestseller in the 70s, and by now we'd have several decades of empirical data which would make a comparison meaningful."

"But to my surprise I could not find recent attempts for this. So I decided to do it myself."

According to Herrington, the collapse "does not mean that humanity will cease to exist", but instead means that "economic and industrial growth will stop, and then decline, which will hurt food production and standards of living."

"Even when paired with unprecedented technological development and adoption, business as usual as modelled by LtG would inevitably lead to declines in industrial capital, agricultural output, and welfare levels within this century," the study reads.

Source: | Comments (37)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #28 Posted by Cookie Monster 2 years ago
It doesn`t give a breakdown of why they believe a collapse is coming. If its a shortage of water, then that won`t cause a collapse. It might hit 3rd world countries but outside of them if we needed to we would just produce drinking water from the ocean. In fact, many people already get their water from desalination plants. I myself do, I have one that fills into a sealed reservoir (meaning it takes in no rain or river water). If its a food crises, then that won`t cause a collapse either. Africa cannot produce enough food already, and its African 3rd world countries that would be hit. The rest... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by Helen of Annoy 2 years ago
Now you gave me something to worry about. I just mentioned in the exorcism thread that confronting demons is dangerous on do-it-yourself basis, even if they aren't real.   
Comment icon #30 Posted by Desertrat56 2 years ago
Don't ever think @aztek represents even a small group of people in the U.S.
Comment icon #31 Posted by closed for business 2 years ago
Hi Helen Someone has to keep people employed and I do it free of charge.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Helen of Annoy 2 years ago
Fine. But I'll kill you if you get yourself murdered or something.  
Comment icon #33 Posted by Helen of Annoy 2 years ago
Don't worry, I know what he's doing. That "resident troll" in his signature is an absolutely accurate deion. 
Comment icon #34 Posted by lightly 2 years ago
Well,   free of all but a few charges, huh?   
Comment icon #35 Posted by GlitterRose 2 years ago
Have they looked out the window?
Comment icon #36 Posted by Horta 2 years ago
It's  already happening, has been for quite a while IMO, with the west leading the way. We have a financial system that keeps crashing, massive and widening wealth inequality, civil unrest, failed political systems. Not to mention a pandemic. There's a lot of dysfunction. Throw in effects of climate change that will lead to food shortages and water scarcity for huge numbers of people, increasing aridity in large temperate areas, certain tropical areas likely to become uninhabitable, refugee crises and increased conflicts. Then also throw in the ecological problems we have which also appears ... [More]
Comment icon #37 Posted by aztek 2 years ago
yet i do not see any examples, French revolution did not get rid of rich, as a class. vast majority survived just fine, and ended up ruling over peasants once again.  

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