The End of Growth

The End of Growth

Book - 2012
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In an urgent follow-up to his best-selling Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller , Jeff Rubin argues that the end of cheap oil means the end of growth. What it will be like to live in a world where growth is over?
 
Economist and resource analyst Jeff Rubin is certain that the world's governments are getting it wrong. Instead of moving us toward economic recovery, measures being taken around the globe right now are digging us into a deeper hole. Both politicians and economists are missing the fact that the real engine of economic growth has always been cheap, abundant fuel and resources. But that era is over. The end of cheap oil, Rubin argues, signals the end of growth--and the end of easy answers to renewing prosperity.
 
Rubin's own equation is clear: with China and India sucking up the lion's share of the world's ever more limited resources, the rest of us will have to make do with less. But is this all bad? Can less actually be more? Rubin points out that there is no research to show that people living in countries with hard-charging economies are happier, and plenty of research to show that some of the most contented people on the planet live in places with no-growth or slow-growth GDPs. But it doesn't matter whether it's bad or good, it's the new reality: our world is not only about to get smaller, our day-to-day lives are about to be a whole lot different.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2012
ISBN: 9780307360892
Branch Call Number: 338 .9 RUB
Characteristics: 295 p. :,map ;,22 cm

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c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

We'll buy fewer things, but we'll also have more time to enjoy our lives. Does anybody really like the rat race? (Pg. 258).

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

If the objective of climate change policy is to reduce carbon emissions, then that's exactly what's achieved by higher energy prices (Pg. 240)

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

The deeper the recession, the better it is for the atmosphere (Pg. 238).

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

Neither China nor the United States currently puts a price on carbon, and neither appears likely to make a policy change anytime soon (Pg. 235).

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

The pace at which our economies grow is far more important to the level of future emissions that any government-mandated carbon reduction schemes (Pg. 233).

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

Even brutal dictatorial regimes could soon recognize that explosive population growth and food scarcity is an untenable combination (Pg. 226).

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

Food didn't go to the highest bidder, but to the citizens of the countries in which it was produced (Pg. 218).

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

Dictators throughout the Arab world have seen how hunger can quickly turn into revolution (Pg. 215).

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

A crackdown on immigration goes hand in hand with slower economic growth. (Pg. 177)

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

But those plans don't account for a new world of higher energy costs that will prevent the economy from growing at the pace achieved in the last decade, when it pumped out a steady stream of new jobs every month. (Pg. 176).

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p
pm221
May 21, 2017

From the perspective of 2017 this feels quaint. A very persuasive case for the impact of ever increasing triple digit oil prices is less so when OPEC are struggling to keep prices above $50. An inadvertent reminder of the danger of making predictions about anything.
On the other hand it would be interesting to see how the disconnect between GDP growth and fossil fuel usage is progressing, a factor that Mr Rubin missed.

t
talktimereader
Jul 14, 2015

Recalling the first question from my prof in Economics 101; What do you get when you link all economists end to end around the equator? Not one fact. Unfortunately true in this case. This is an 'environmentally informed' writer in educated, privileged sheep's clothing. The basic primus being the market will dictate and resolve all issues from supply to health. Regardless of the current state it has gotten our environment into to this point..

So far we have a growing divide between rich and poor, the oil interests running rough shod over individual freedoms and health concerns....

And an economist equating the Keystone and Northern Gateway pipelines with an argument that catch and kill is the wiser decision than catch and release in fishing practice, an insight he achieved while fishing in pristine environments, available only to those priviledged few who can affort it... prior to the rape and pillage of such areas by the oil interests and the above pipelines. ..

And of course, not one useful fact. Of course the slowdown is here, the oil prices have reached triple digit, but no where is there a concerted option put forth, other that the same old dead fish...the market will solve the problem. It may well do in the short term for China, India and even NA, but where is the planning and research support for alternatives. And I do not see fracking as any type of 'alternative', Global warming is here.

Solid writing, some insight, but negligible and meaningless conclusions. Nothing new to add to the discussion, and apparently an effort to buck up the author's finances after 'retirement'.

r
rille
May 03, 2013

A great read, especially to better understand how oil is an integrally woven commodity on this planet.

BPLNextBestAdults Apr 17, 2013

Oil is to world economies as blood is to the body and we are starting to run out. Jeff Rubin discusses how the lack of cheap, easily accessible oil will affect the world economy.

net

j
jmikesmith
Jan 17, 2013

This is Jeff Rubin's second book on the topic of peak oil. His first book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization , focused more on the causes of peak oil and some of the implications for global trade. The End of Growth focuses more on the overall economic effects of expensive oil.

The key premise here is that economic growth depends on inexpensive energy provided by oil and other fossil fuels. I found he didn't really explain why this linkage exists; rather, he asserted it as a fact. If you accept that premise, then the rest of the argument, about what happens when we can no longer afford to buy as much oil as we used to, makes sense. Rubin does mention the link between the need for economic growth and population, but like most peak oil authors, glosses over the heart of the problem: too many people. He mentions how educating women is the best way to curb population growth, but offers few suggestions on how to achieve this in the developing world.

The writing is much clearer and easier to read than in his first book. There are a few graphs to illustrate some of the trends he discusses. The book would have benefited from some better explanation of why economic growth is desirable and from more suggestions of how to deal with expensive oil. Keep in mind that predictions are hard, especially about the future. I accept Rubin's argument that the problem is serious - expensive oil will impact the economy. But the impacts will probably differ from Rubin's predictions. And I'm less hopeful than Rubin is that we'll somehow find our way out of this mess without addressing global population.

Ultimately, this book paints a reasonable picture of the situation, but doesn't do enough to point a way forward.

e
elinpat
Oct 11, 2012

The most interesting book on the economy I have read in a long time. The end of cheap oil is here and thus the end of growth. And perhaps the end of sending cheap goods around the world in oil driven tankers that can as easily be created at home. And Perhaps a boon to the enviroment. Rubin and Suziki are collaborating on a tour highlighting the 'end of growth'.

m
markd
Sep 03, 2012

I've often wondered if 'growth" can continue. Mr. Rubin presents interetsting evidence that it cannot. I believe that everyone should read this book - even if to see a "slow to no-growth" perspective.

c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

In his second book, Jeff Rubin again makes a strong case that "triple-digit oil prices, record budget deficits and potentially catastrophic levels of carbon in the atmosphere are telling us the same thing: endless economic growth is unsustainable" (Pg. 254). His unconventional approach of explaining the world's economic situation, neither supports the Keynesian school of thought such as those of renowned economists by the likes Paul Krugman nor Laissez-faire ones such as Milton Friedman. Jeff Rubin further states that, "no matter what stimulus measures are put in place, we can't make our economies grow at the rates they used to, because the energy that drives them now costs fives times as much as it did only a decade ago." Despite the relatively low Brent crude oil prices compared to the summer of 2008 prior to Lehman Brothers collapse, it is a strong argument that oil prices are "only a messenger; the real issue is the underlying scarcity they signal" (Pg. 255). As the former Chief Economist of a major Canadian Bank, the author has the right long-term vision of how economies must be reformed. However, in the current unstable state of the world economy, I am more convinced that government stimulus is the proper measure which nations and central banks must implement now as advised by Paul Krugman (End this Depression Now). True, in the long-term spending must be reduced and citizens all over the globe will have to use less energy and rely more on public transportation. The immediate threat to the stability of the world economy cannot be underestimated, however. Politicians and central bankers must act immediately as one major central bank finally acknowledged this day on July 5, 2012, by lowering the interest rates. I conclude by referring to a quote from John M. Keynes which Dr. Krugman frequently refers to in the New York Times: "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again."

l
lalalady
Jun 01, 2012

This is an easy read that does a great deal to show the influence of oil and other energy resources in a world wide context, on foreign relations, economics, environment and the possibilities in our futures. Written by an economist, there is a clear bias that price determines behaviour, with clear examples of the truth of that supposition.

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cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

cshahriari thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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c
cshahriari
Jul 05, 2012

In his second book, Jeff Rubin again makes a strong case that "triple-digit oil prices, record budget deficits and potentially catastrophic levels of carbon in the atmosphere are telling us the same thing: endless economic growth is unsustainable" (Pg. 254). His unconventional approach of explaining the world's economic situation, neither supports the Keynesian school of thought such as those of renowned economists by the likes Paul Krugman nor Laissez-faire ones such as Milton Friedman. Jeff Rubin further states that, "no matter what stimulus measures are put in place, we can't make our economies grow at the rates they used to, because the energy that drives them now costs fives times as much as it did only a decade ago." Despite the relatively low Brent crude oil prices compared to the summer of 2008 prior to Lehman Brothers collapse, it is a strong argument that oil prices are "only a messenger; the real issue is the underlying scarcity they signal" (Pg. 255). As the former Chief Economist of a major Canadian Bank, the author has the right long-term vision of how economies must be reformed. However, in the current unstable state of the world economy, I am more convinced that government stimulus is the proper measure which nations and central banks must implement now as advised by Paul Krugman (End this Depression Now). True, in the long-term spending must be reduced and citizens all over the globe will have to use less energy and rely more on public transportation. The immediate threat to the stability of the world economy can not be underestimated, however. Politicians and central bankers must act immediately as one major central bank finally acknowledged this day on July 5, 2012, by lowering the interest rates. I conclude by referring to a quote from John M. Keynes which Dr. Krugman frequently refers to in the New York Times: "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again."

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