Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind

Donella Meadows
Dennis Meadows
Jorgen Randers
William Behrens III
01 March 1972

RRP: £44.53   Paperback : 208 pages   ISBN : 0856440086   Publisher : Earth Island (1 Mar. 1972)   Language: : English

The Limits to Growth (LTG) is a 1972 report on the exponential economic and population growth with a finite supply of resources, studied by computer simulation. Commissioned by the Club of Rome, the findings of the study were first presented at international gatherings in Moscow and Rio de Janeiro in the summer of 1971. The report's authors represent a team of 17 researchers.

The study used the World3 computer model to simulate the consequence of interactions between the earth and human systems. The model was based on the work of Jay Forrester of MIT as described in his book World Dynamics.

The model was based on five variables: "population, food production, industrialization, pollution, and consumption of non-renewable natural resources".  At the time of the study, all these variables were increasing and were assumed to continue to grow exponentially, while the ability of technology to increase resources grew only linearly. The authors intended to explore the possibility of a sustainable feedback pattern that would be achieved by altering growth trends among the five variables under three scenarios. They noted that their projections for the values of the variables in each scenario were predictions "only in the most limited sense of the word", and were only indications of the system's behavioural tendencies.  Two of the scenarios saw "overshoot and collapse" of the global system by the mid- to latter-part of the 21st century, while a third scenario resulted in a "stabilized world".