Christopher Clugston, author of the NPG Forum paper Whatever Happened to the Good Old Days?, is an ecological and resource economist who has been researching the economics of Non-renewable Natural Resources (NNRs) since 2006. This paper summarizes and updates his 2012 book: Scarcity – Humanity’s Final Chapter?
As the titles of these two works suggest, Clugston sees a major predicament for humanity in adjusting its expectations of ever-increasing and unending prosperity to the reality that the NNRs that have enabled industrial expansion for over 200 years are now permanently scarce, declining in quality and availability and rising in cost. This permanent scarcity has been and will continue to be the major ingredient in the slowing growth rates of industrial societies, leading ultimately to stressful and far-reaching adjustments by mid-century to what he calls our unsustainable “industrial paradigm.”
Clugston addresses the rising demand for resources from population growth only tangentially in this Forum paper. NPG has long argued that a smaller population is the best way to reduce demands on our environment and resources such as NNRs and ensure long-term sustainability.
NPG considers Clugston’s Forum paper and his book to be articulate reminders of earth’s limits and the dangers of ever-expanding consumption. The author’s work is meticulously researched, and bold in its attack on the cornucopian faith that technology and market forces will save us – even somehow making viable what is economically and ecologically nonviable.
Clugston’s book, Scarcity – Humanity’s Final Chapter? (Port Charlotte, FL: Booklocker.Com, 2012) is available through Amazon.