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IS THERE A LIMIT TO GROWTH?

I agree that there are limits to growth. Growth is not infinite, it is finite. There are a lot of
constraints why growth is not infinite.

First of all, there is an ecological limit. Resources are scarce. If growth continues,
resources become depleted if not use in a sustainable way. In todays time, resources are not used
sustainably. The extraction rate of these resources used as inputs is much greater compared to its
replenishment. Moreover, the production and consumption of the resources are not sustainable.
As a result, the resources are used up in a faster rate. There are renewable and nonrenewable
resources. The nonrenewable resources take a million years to replenish. Once those resources
are gone, there will be no growth since no inputs will be used in production and other economic
activities. The widespread consumption of large volumes of resources used in goods and services
cannot be sustained in the long run. Also, no matter how many recycling and reusing occurs, the
energy component in the manufactured goods and services will still create pollution. That
pollution will also contribute to the degradation of the environment. In the pursuit of growth, we
unknowingly sacrificed our ecological services.

The second one is the limit on land. Expansion cannot be done indefinitely since land is
only limited. There will come a point where land will not be able to support the increasing
expansion. When there is growth, there are demands on the different sectors to expand. One
example is the agricultural expansion. Agricultural land is needed to be expanded since there are
more people to feed due to the increasing exponential population. However, land itself is limited.
If the world tries to cultivate all the arable land, it would incur higher costs. It will translate to
higher food prices that some people will not be able to afford it and starve. Unfortunately, this is
already apparent in some countries in the world. Even if the society pays the costs to gain the
land or to increase the productivity of land, the rising population will bring another hindrance to
it.

The third one is there is a futility limit. It occurs when marginal utility falls to zero. Even
at no cost of production, there is a limit on how much we can consume and enjoy a good or
service. There is a limitation on how many goods we can enjoy in a given time period.
The fourth one is the economic limit. It occurs when marginal cost is equals to marginal
benefit and consequent maximization of the net benefit. Beyond that point, costs are higher than
the benefits. Reaching that upper point will only make us poorer, not richer. Even if the GDP
increases up to the point, we are still in the losing side since the increase in cost is much greater
to the benefits we are receiving. Even if there are technologies that will shift the marginal
benefits upward and the marginal costs downward to continue growth as long as possible, there
will still be limits. First, the macro-economy is still limited by the finite ecosphere. Second, the
timing of technology is uncertain and it takes time before a technology is made. The technology
might not also be invented on time when we reach economic limit. And third, the curves may
also shift in the wrong directions. The technology invented can also be one of the causes of the
economic limit.

I think one major thing that will contribute to the limits of growth is the increasing
population. More population will mean that there are more people to support and there will be
higher demands. Resources will be used at a faster rate, pollution will rise, industrial output and
food demand will increase. The continued growth will ultimately mean increasing use of
resources. To be able to obtain these resources, higher costs will be paid. And there will come a
time when the demands of the increasing population cannot be sustained by the resources and
that will be start of the downfall. In conclusion, it is the resource constraints that will essentially
limit growth.

Reference:

Daly, H. (n.d.). Three Limits to Growth. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from The Daly News:
http://steadystate.org/three-limits-to-growth/

Turner, G., & Alexander, C. (2014, September 2). Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're
nearing collapse. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-
research-shows-were-nearing-collapse