In the 50 years since Growth limits Published in 1972, its grim Malthusian message gripped the social consciousness. Its central thesis was that since Earth’s resources are finite, it will not be able to support exponential rates of economic and population growth and will collapse before the end of this century. This declaration became the fountainhead behind calls for increasing centralization and limits to erode individual freedom of choice.

Global institutions like World Health Organization, World Economic Forum have identified air pollution, climate change, overpopulation and water scarcity as the biggest threats to human welfare. The consensus among policy-makers, politicians, and environmentalists seems to be that entrepreneurs and firms will use the cheapest means of production even if they degrade the environment. Therefore, dependence on the market system to solve the problem of environmental degradation and provide sustainability is automatically ruled out.

Similarly, the consensus that consumers are driven by individual desires for overconsumption implies that consumer sovereignty must be constrained by the pursuit of a sustainable world in which the needs of today are met without compromising the needs of future generations.

It follows from this consensus that the solution must be global, as failure has potentially widespread consequences and a centrally planned approach is the only possible solution. Through a centralized approach to solving the problem of environmental degradation, rational, well-informed people with vast resources will deal with the enormous problems of environmental conservation in a deliberate and efficient manner for the public good.

In practice this approach would mean taking away civil liberties if they interfered with plans to protect the environment. But as sovereign individuals who want a free world and who hold sacred the values ​​of human freedom and dignity, we must pause before making such Faustian bargains. Stop and think carefully about the true nature of environmental degradation, the effects of scarcity on the economy, and how a self-directed system like the market can deal with it.

In addition to the intellectual stimulation that history provides, it can also teach us lessons from past experiences, and there is enough evidence from experiments in centralized planning to make us intellectually skeptical.

Markets deal with scarcity.

An economy consists of a large number of buyers and sellers who demand and supply large quantities of goods and services respectively. Therefore, in a decentralized manner, they have a large amount of information available to them—but this information about demand and supply is important everyone As it affects the decisions they take in their daily lives. This is where financial evaluation comes in. Based on competition between buyers and sellers through a bidding process, prices are formed that provide information about such items.

Market prices act as coordinating signals that convey information about important economic data scattered in a decentralized manner. The role of price in coordinating market actions was one of the key arguments advanced by Friedrich Hayek as to why centralized planning could never allocate resources as efficiently as markets.

When something is scarce in the market, a large number of users compete for its possession, causing the seller to raise its price to make his existing stock affordable. The increased price is a signal reflecting its scarcity in the market. If claimed Growth limits True, then the price of natural resources that are widely used in energy consumption should increase.

Scarcity of these resources limits economic growth, as energy consumption is bound to increase as economic activity increases. If today’s asset price is significantly higher than in the past,

But the reality is very different. Despite the declining purchasing power of the dollar and the cartelization of oil, an item that cost $50 in 1970 would theoretically cost $335.5 in 2020 (50 x 6.71 = 335.5). But the increase in oil prices is less than the decline in the dollar, suggesting that the real increase in oil prices is negligible. Can it convince people to change their minds?


Vibhu Vikramaidatya is a scholar who writes about economic phenomena from legal and economic perspectives with research interests in capital theory, monetary theory and business cycles. His other work can be found at the Austrian Economics Center, the Libertarian Institute, and belibertarian.com.

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