Not really. I was pretty young back then to be interested in the fall of capitalism. But, thankfully, MIT was. In 1972 a study by MIT came out predicting capitalism would collapse in midcentury. KPMG, one of the four major accounting firms, crunched the numbers. This is Jared Diamond’s book, “Collapse” in real time . . . today.
You can talk about resource depletion, which is a major reason for collapse, but until you see it actually happening, it is business as usual. And, we need to add the climate crisis to this collapse scenario. We do not see people standing in line in Big Box grocery stores here in the US . . . well, at the beginning of the pandemic, there were definitely empty shelves, and people freaking out there was no toilet paper. Well, that is a bit of a concern. Fortunately, no one wanted the 1000 sheet rolls so I was ok.
In Diamond’s book, he details the collapse of Easter Island, as one of the societies that collapsed. There were no ocean liners that could drop off a load of tomatoes or lumber. And, although Earth is not an island, it is actually an island in the solar system. Mars will not be delivering anything to us anytime soon . . . if ever. It is not a destination I am interested in.
Nafeez Ahmed details the update on the MIT study in Vice on July 14, 2021. The link is below. Gaya Herrington participated in the original study and was curious if the prediction was on track. She didn’t see anyone taking on that job so she set out and did it herself. The study had graphed data on mortality, population, resources, pollution, fertility, food, etc. After doing the calculations, she found it to be right on track. Approximately 2040 is when capitalism will crash. Although, in the article it mentioned it may happen as soon as 10 years from now.
Don’t count on the local news to let people know this is coming down the pike. Wouldn’t you want to know that? And, who is prepared for that? This was news to me, even though I am well aware of resource depletion. Our soil is severely depleted, and we are set to run out of fish in the ocean at 2048, for two examples.
Some resources like fossil fuels will be gone when they are gone because they take 1,000s of years to form. Other resources like food can be replenished . . . unless we pave too much of paradise, as in what Joni Mitchell saw in her song “Big Yellow Taxi.”
The Colorado River and Ogallala Aquifer are both slowly being depleted of water. They are situated in parts of the country that don’t get a lot of rainfall. Much of our water supplies are being used for fracking with 100s of toxic chemicals added to millions of gallons of drinking water or irrigation for crops we shouldn’t be planting. We will end up with no water for us if we don’t start changing our ways.
Back to the MIT study. Richard Heinberg wrote a few books on resource depletion, along with Jared Diamond. I am sure there are many others. “Peak Everything” and “The End of Growth” were two of Heinberg’s books. Perhaps MIT was concerned we, too, would become another Easter Island.
Curiously, the collapse of capitalism is exactly what would solve the climate crisis. But, we need to be prepared. Harrington said it wouldn’t be the end of humanity but there would be hardships. We need to start making changes now.
Growing food should be a top priority, along with conserving resources for the things we absolutely need, like medical supplies. We can’t take 20 more years of burning fossil fuels. So, I am hoping the 10-year prediction holds true.
We need to get ready for this. Now. The article is attached so you can share it with as many friends and family as possible.
In the meantime, start a garden.
2 thoughts on “Remember the 1972 MIT Study on the Collapse of Capitalism?”
Thanks Debbie. Great post!
Thanks for reading it, EagleHeart! We kind of need to know these things.