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Web Letters | The Nation

'The Limits to Growth': A Book That Launched a Movement

Getting the word

In 1972, I was teaching English in a high school in San Diego. I devoured Limits to Growth and tried to spread the word to all of my colleagues, students and friends. Sadly, very few actually read the book. I was the first to share the word ecology with the physics teacher! The Club of Rome’s work was on target at the time and, in my opinion, still is. I hope it’s not too late. I am 80 and won’t be around to find out.

Tom Stoup

San Diego

Dec 13 2012 - 7:48pm

'The Limits to Growth': A Book That Launched a Movement

MIT still growing

Christian Parenti’s piece is spot on. However, Parenti should be advised that MIT has not been motionless since publication of Limits. The “Engineering Systems” division, in particular, has been working on approaches that (i) use standard tools like “systems dynamics”, which are more-or-less generic, formal tools, as Parenti points out, but that also (ii) attempt to bring political and economic policy into the engineer’s design philosophy. A recent PhD dissertation focused, for example, on demand-side control of electricity (using so-called “smart metering” technology) in order to reduce, or at least level, demand rather than merely meeting demand requirements. The idea of political neutrality is up for grabs, even among engineers. The situation is, indeed, that desperate.

Jason Richardson-White

Bethlehem, GA

Dec 9 2012 - 11:31pm