No, this isn’t a prediction of the apocalypse. Rather, I’m using the title of this post to make a point. The terms “sunrise” and “sunset” are vestiges of the geocentric model of the universe, in which the earth lay at the center while the sun, the moon and stars revolved around us. Thus, the sun “rose” in the sky in the morning and “set” in the evening. This model was developed in ancient Greece and held sway until approximately the 17th century. So fiercely was it defended by the Catholic Church that, when Galileo developed his more accurate concept of “heliocentrism” in which the earth revolved around the sun, he was tried and found guilty by the Inquisition, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Ignorance doesn’t die easily. To this day, approximately 20% of adult Americans still believe that the sun rotates around the earth.
And so it is with the field of economics today. Like Pope Urban VIII who had Galileo tried by the Inquisition, modern economists are just as unwilling to consider any challenge to their irrational model of never-ending growth, and they are just as eager to label anyone who dares to delve into concerns about overpopulation a “Malthusian” as Urban was in condemning Galileo as a heretic. Tomorrow (whether it’s literally tomorrow or sometime in the near future), they say, economic growth will rise again, just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.
But the sun won’t rise tomorrow. While the earth continues its never-ending rotation, which will indeed bring the sun into view on the eastern horizon, the sun is setting forever on economists’ equivalent of “geocentrism,” their flawed theory of never-ending economic growth. The field of economics will continue its plunge into the darkness of ignorance – perhaps forever or, hopefully, until some economist, as did Galileo, has the courage to brave the scorn of his/her peers and consider economics from a different perspective, willing to examine the full gamut of challenges that overpopulation may present.
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This post also marks a turning point in my forecasting of future events, which will take a decidedly more gloomy tone. From the beginning, when I first began to develop my theory about the effects of the inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption, I envisioned it as a process that would unfold slowly, taking perhaps decades to manifest itself in noticeable changes in our economy. I fear that I’ve underestimated the gravity of this theory, blinded by the effectiveness with which debt was used to mask its effects. That debt ploy has nearly reached its limit and, without it, the effects of unemployment and worsening poverty will escalate rapidly.