Richard Heinberg

Articles by this author

How do healthy societies destroy their growth capital? Sometimes, just by throwing a big party. (Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Capitalism, the Doomsday Machine (or, How to Repurpose Growth Capital)
David Fleming, the late British economist, contributed many blazing insights ; one that’s captivated my attention recently has to do with capital. Fleming counted six kinds of capital (natural, human, social, scientific/cultural, material, and financial), and noted that all six can be used in...
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We have individual responsibility for how we shape our own worldviews based on the news and opinions we "ingest." (Photo: magicatwork/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Insurrection, Pandemic, and Censorship
On January 6, thousands gathered in Washington, DC to hear an inciteful speech from President Trump, then forcefully breached the US Capitol Building in an effort to disrupt the peaceful transition of presidential power—an institutional foundation of democracy. Some among the mob entering the...
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Renewal, if it’s to occur, might have to start with the two political parties. Both are at evolutionary dead ends. (Photo: coolloud/flickr/cc) Views
Friday, November 20, 2020
The Real Plan? To Make America Ungovernable
The US presidential election of 2020 is now behind us—or is it? President Trump has yet to concede his defeat, and many Republican lawmakers have demanded recounts and backed lawsuits. Some commentators fear that the current administration is laying the groundwork for a coup d’état by preventing...
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Smoky skies from the northern California wildfires casts a reddish color in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images) Views
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
What If Preventing Collapse Isn't Profitable?
The notion that modern industrial civilization is fundamentally unsustainable and is therefore likely to collapse at some point is not a new one. Even before the Limits to Growth report of 1972, many ecologists were concerned that our continual expansion of population and consumption, based on the...
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Greed, consumerism, racism, and imperial ambition sealed our nation’s fate. (Photo: urbantimes.co) Views
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
United States: An Obituary
The United States of America was problematic from the start. It was founded on genocide and slavery, and, while frequently congratulating itself on the rights and freedoms it granted its citizens, never managed to confront the demons in its past. The question would arise repeatedly, generation...
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New Yorkers make some noise to show appreciation to healthcare workers due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in Manhattan, New York City, United States on April 8, 2020. (Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, April 09, 2020
Pandemic Response Requires Post-Growth Economic Thinking
Amid a horrific human tragedy of sickness and death, much of it taking place in hospitals staffed by brave but overworked and under-equipped doctors and nurses, we are all learning once again what it feels like when economic growth comes to a shuddering stop and the economy goes into reverse—...
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Barn raising in Lansing (now North York City Centre). Toronto, Canada.Ca 1900-1919 Views
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Coronavirus, Economic Networks, and Social Fabric
The COVID-19 pandemic offers intriguing insights into how networked our modern world has become, and how we’ve traded resilience for economic efficiency. Case in point: someone gets sick in China in December of 2019, and by March of 2020 the US shale oil industry is teetering on the brink. What’s...
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A sign for Transition Linlithgow in Scotland Views
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Two Arguments for Localism
Argument 1: Localism is inevitable. Globalization was made possible by long-distance transport, communications, and capital flows. It fits with widespread assumptions about progress and economic growth leading to a better future. But there are good reasons to think that our current bout of...
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Thursday, January 17, 2019
Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization?
The idea is infectious. Could a big government jobs and spending program succeed in kicking into gear the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and ultimately save us from catastrophic climate change? The energy transition is currently going way too slowly; it needs money and policy...
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If we’re asleep at the wheel, the likelihood of calamity skyrockets.(Photo: Screenshot) Views
Thursday, October 18, 2018
When It Comes to Sustainability, We’re a Society of Distracted Drivers
Driving is dangerous. In fact, it’s about the riskiest activity most of us engage in routinely. It requires one’s full attention—and even then, things can sometimes go horribly awry. The brakes fail. Weather turns roads to ice. A driver in the oncoming lane falls asleep. Tragedy ensues. But if we’...
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