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Growth, fossil fuels, and “green” energy

Is there a “limit to growth” as exposed in the Meadows Report? Our global system works on “growth” of production to generate employment and income, which takes several forms: wages, incomes for entrepreneurs and stock holders, capital gains, rent and interest income, which themselves finance State income (taxes!) and other institutional incomes. Private and public pension funds run on “total returns” from assets, themselves tied closely or loosely in the long run to the underlying “cake” that we all “eat”, which is also called Gross Domestic Product: the total economic value generated per year.

The total “cake” we produce and consume ultimately comes from 2 broad factors:

  1. Total number of workers actively working / producing.

  2. Total factor productivity, which we can simply think of as the “efficiency” of producing economic output (value) with a certain quantity of inputs: time, energy, land, machines, infrastructure, etc.

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