Club of Rome at 50 years old

I used to believe the following tenets of the Club of Rome. I did so for about four years (from the age of 22 to 26) until I woke up from ecodoomism. It is apparent that millions have been sucked into this cult and have never found a way out. Yet. Indeed, ecodoomism is the world’s leading cause of depression, suicide, sexual ambiguity,  non-replacement and cultural anomie. It is immediately the cause of policies designed to immiserate the population (viz. Dutch government putting farms out of business to control world atmospheric nitrogen levels).

Here are the doctrines of the Club of Rome, circa 1972. Look familiar?


• “The Limits to Growth” contains six main messages:
ƒ Firstly, that the environmental impact of human society
had become heavier between 1900 and 1972 due to
both an increase in the number of humans and the
amount of resources consumed and pollution generated
per person per year.
ƒ That our planet is physically limited, and that humanity
cannot continue to use more physical resources and
generate more emissions than nature is capable of
supplying in a sustainable manner. In addition, it will
not be possible to rely on technology alone to solve the
problem as this would only delay reaching the carrying
capacity of the planet by a few years.
ƒ Third, the authors cautioned that it is possible, and even
likely, that the human ecological footprint will overshoot
the carrying capacity of the planet, further explaining that
this would likely occur due to significant delays in global
decision making while growth continued, bringing the
human footprint into unsustainable territory.

ƒ Once humanity has entered this unsustainable territory,
we will have to move back into sustainable territory,
either through “managed decline” of activity, or we will
be forced to move back through “collapse” caused by the
brutal inherent processes of nature or the market.
ƒ The fifth message is one of hope. The authors state
that: “The challenge of overshoot from decision delay
is real, but easily solvable if human society decided to
act”, meaning that forward looking policy could prevent
humanity from overshooting the aforementioned
planetary limits.
ƒ Lastly, the authors advocated for an early start – in 1972
that was 1975 – to achieve a smooth transition to a
sustainable world without needing to pass through the
overshoot and contraction phases.


The World Economic Forum and Klaus Schwab have followed as night follows day. They key assumptions are that the current population/ resource consumption mix is unsustainable, and the second is that a process of managed decline can smooth the transition to sustainability. I am about to say something at once paradoxical and true. Humans have more to fear from the managers of population reduction than we do of civilizational collapse. Because the population reduction is being planned by people who think they are doing good  and the old adage of C. S. Lewis applies: that the robber barons might have their greed satiated, and stop, but the person who tortures for you own good does so with a clean conscience and will not stop. Hence Stalin. Hence Klaus Schwab, and his minions and acolytes.

Collapses are random and bring their own correctives. They are chaotic. If the Roman Empire has to fall, it is better that it occur without central planning, administered by mad tyrants. I realize this is offensive to those who believe that civilizational change can be planned, but it cannot.

The  assumption that needs to be challenged the most is that collapse is somehow inevitable because we have gone beyond limits set by Gaia, that this unsustainability is somehow new, and that we can plan our way out of it.

We went beyond the limits set by Gaia since we domesticated animals, invented agriculture and mined metals. I would not wish to say there are no limits, but I would say that the collective intelligence of mankind has continually found solutions to the problems we have ourselves created. We went into the realm of the “unsustainable” tens of thousands of years ago. We are still in “unsustainablity”. There is no stable state. The Club of Rome published its manifesto in 1972. It had a tremendous negative effect over time. It resuscitated the idea of a centrally planned economy when the central conceit of Marxism had collapsed: that a planned economy could prevail over the chaotic forces of the market, or of nature.

The close relationship between the idea of sustainability and the tyranny of all-wise central planners needs to be made clear.


Regarding solutions that appear without planning, population growth is collapsing through the very process of unsustainable wealth generation that has come from burning fossil fuels. Women reach a level of prosperity where their kids will survive until adulthood, and – bingo! – they produce at most two children. It is enough to make the most hardened ecodoomist pause and reconsider.


Or more brutal yet, try David Goldman (known as Spengler)