In 1972 Scientists Predicted When Society Would Collapse: New Studies Confirm Predictions.

What will our planet look like in the future? What will change economically and socially? We’ve probably all asked ourselves these questions at one time or another. These are quite complex questions, in which many variables are at play, and which have aroused the interest of experts and scientists for years.

Is it really possible to predict the years to come? From the studies we are going to talk about, it would seem so. In 1972, a group of experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) tried to determine when the collapse of society would occur, using computer modeling. The verdict? A precise date, and even quite close: 2040. While the study wasn’t taken too seriously at the time, some decided to dig deeper and update it, and it seems those grim predictions are not to be underestimated. We are completely on this sad path, it is true, but all may not be lost. Let’s take a closer look.

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image credit: Pixabay – Not the actual photo

Humanity has been warned that our activities could be so unsustainable that they could cause a collapse, which is expected around the middle of the 21st century, in 2040 exactly. The report published in 1972 by MIT scientists was clear: the experts had already identified the “limits” of the industrial development of the time, which would cause a long-term collapse.

Yet they were not taken too seriously. In addition to causing a stir, this analysis has also been the subject of mockery and questioning. Today, however, the subject seems more topical than ever. This is why new research has tried to update the forecasts of the 1970s, with results that are far from reassuring.

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image credit: Uwe Hermann/Wikimedia – Not the actual photo

These are not simple dire forecasts, but precise mathematical and economic models. In 2009, another team of researchers had already carried out a similar study, later published by American Scientist, which claimed that what had been said in 1972 was not so unrealistic. “We are almost exactly in line with these results 35 years later, the proposed model was very accurate,” they said.

Then, in 2021, Dutch sustainability researcher Gaya Herrington provided further confirmation. In her new in-depth study based on the previous ones, she said: “I was curious to see the supposed scenarios playing out today, and the current data is unfortunately in line with the predictions made in 1972 “.

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image credit: World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr – Not the actual photo

His analysis looks at three different scenarios and shows that civilization is heading almost inexorably towards a decline in economic growth, influenced by several factors, including climate change. “We are in the midst of a planetary emergency, she said, facing climate, biodiversity, and health crises that are interconnected and mutually reinforcing”.

So what to do? The study in question is not only an awareness of the problems we are facing. On the contrary: according to Herrington, we can still change something.
“The main conclusion of my study is that we can still move towards a scenario that does not end in collapse. With innovation in the business world, as well as new developments in governments and civil society, continue to evolving models provides another perspective on the challenges and opportunities we have in creating a more sustainable world,” she says. And we can only hope that is the case.

Source used:

https://www.esf.edu/efb/hall/2009-05Hall0327.pdf

https://www.clubofrome.org/publication/the-limits-to-growth/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jun/04/scientists-limits-to-growth-vindicated-investment-transition-circular-economy

 KPMG Advisory


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