State of the World 1984



Long before Ronald Reagan asked voters whether they were better off today than they were 4 years ago, many thoughtful people were asking whether the world as a whole was becoming a better place to live. The Malthusian point of view, restated by the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth, made an enormous impact on the world when it appeared in 1972. Its simplistic message, disguised in computer models, was that exponential growth cannot be maintained forever. Specifically, it predicted imminent exhaustion of food and natural resources and death from evergrowing pollution. Its successor volume, Global 2000, published with the encouragement of the Carter White House in 1980, was more restrained but also predicted general doom. It was responded to by The Resourceful Earth (sponsored by the Heritage Foundation), which views the future as rosy and contradicts Global 2000 on almost every point.