Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) looked at data patterns of various factors, such as population, natural resources and energy consumption, to figure out when we would experience complete societal collapse.
The prediction made by the researchers was that this societal downfall would strike around the middle of the 21st century – 2040, to be exact. Marvellous.
The team’s study, which was published by the Club of Rome, identified future ‘limits to growth’ that would cause industrial collapse.
However, at the time the report was not taken too seriously and was met with ridicule, reports the Guardian.
But, before you started feeling smug — and implementing this lifetime ISA — in 2009, another team of researchers conducted a similar study, which was published by American Scientist, and concluded that the results of the model were “almost exactly on track some 35 years later in 2008 (with some appropriate assumptions)…it is important to recognize that his predictions have not been invalidated and in fact seem quite on the right We know of no model developed by economists that is so accurate over such a long period.”
Moreover, last year Dutch sustainability researcher Gaya Herrington also confirmed the somewhat bleak predictions made in the study.
Speaking to the Guardian, Herrington, who works for multinational accountancy firm KPMG, said: “From a research perspective, I thought a data check of a decades-old model against empirical observations would be an interesting exercise.”
And his findings were about as grim as you can imagine, according to Herrington.
The current data agrees with predictions made in 1972 which predicted a worst-case scenario of economic growth stopping at the end of that decade and collapsing about 10 years later.
But before deciding to wrap it all up, Herrington had some upbeat news.
She told the Guardian: “The main conclusion of my study is that we always have the choice to align ourselves with a scenario that does not end in collapse.
“With innovation in business, as well as new developments from governments and civil society, continuing to update the model provides another perspective on the challenges and opportunities we have to create a more sustainable world. .”