Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism’s Imminent Demise

A climate change-fueled switch away from fossil fuels means the worldwide economy will fundamentally need to change

Nafeez Ahmed
Oct 19, 2018 · 9 min read
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Energy shift

Those are the stark implications of a new scientific background paper prepared by a team of Finnish biophysicists. The team from the BIOS Research Unit in Finland were asked to provide research that would feed into the drafting of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), which will be released in 2019.

“Economies have used up the capacity of planetary ecosystems to handle the waste generated by energy and material use”

The amount of energy we can extract, compared to the energy we are using to extract it, is decreasing “across the spectrum — unconventional oils, nuclear and renewables return less energy in generation than conventional oils, whose production has peaked — and societies need to abandon fossil fuels because of their impact on the climate,” the paper states.

“We face a form of capitalism that has hardened its focus to short-term profit maximization with little or no apparent interest in social good.”

Earlier in August, billionaire investor Jeremy Grantham — who has a track record of consistently calling financial bubbles — released an update to his April 2013 analysis, ‘The Race of Our Lives.’

Toward a new economic operating system

Most observers, then, have no idea of the biophysical realities pointed out in the background paper commissioned by the UN Secretary-General’s IGS — that the driving force of the transition to postcapitalism is the decline of what made ‘endless growth capitalism’ possible in the first place: abundant, cheap energy.

“No widely applicable economic models have been developed specifically for the upcoming era”

Overall, the paper claims that we have moved into a new, unpredictable and unprecedented space in which the conventional economic toolbox has no answers. As slow economic growth simmers along, central banks have resorted to negative interest rates and buying up huge quantities of public debt to keep our economies rolling. But what happens after these measures are exhausted? Governments and bankers are running out of options.


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Nafeez Ahmed

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Nafeez Ahmed

Written by

Systems journalist. Crowdfunding investigations: http://patreon.com/nafeez

INSURGE intelligence

We are crowdfunding adversarial investigations into power, to empower people and save the planet. Join us via www.patreon.com/nafeez

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