Date of Award

Winter 2008

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Richard England


What if we were to have 100 years of no growth? What if conditions were such that there is no future scenario under which growth will ever occur again? We might characterize this as impossible, as a vision that violates the outcome that we as innovative people must realize.

In the document that follows I will show you our world as it must be sometime in the future. I will describe a world in which the real growth of the world economy is zero and remains zero. I will tell a story of a world that is so different from what we take for granted that today's economic systems, political systems, and social systems will no longer work.

Importantly (and unique to this research), this story will be told from within the boundaries of modern economic growth theory. That is, rather than follow an ecological and/or geographical path to explore limits to growth, this research is an "inside job" that suggests that when modern growth theories are decoupled from assumptions that have no basis in how the real world is developing but are, for the most part, mathematical conveniences applied for the sake of "stability," then the long-run economic outcome is no longer capitalism.

In the shadows beneath the foundations of capitalism lurk assumptions that are so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible. This research works back to the source of the myth of endless growth and suggests that the source is simply something we have made up.

Furthermore, with increasing rigor, it exposes the fallacies that allow our world-view to take endless growth as a given and natural state upon which we can make choices; upon which, in the aggregate, are taking humankind on a very bad trip. Unaware, we are blinded from knowledge because we do not question the assumption of more forever. The regime of endless growth is a sort of fission-like chain reaction in which, depending upon one's perspective, the by-products are desirable or toxic. This research shows that some of the by-products are social and ecological anti-matter.