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MIT's 1972 study on 'collapse of human society' may become reality, says a new research

The fresh study was conducted by Gaya Herrington, a researcher at KPMG International.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Karan Manral, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUL 26, 2021 05:40 PM IST
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (File Photo/mit.edu)

A 1972 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which stated that "the human society is on the verge of collapsing in the next two decades," is in the news again after a fresh research concluded that the study may "become a reality."

The new study was conducted by Gaya Herrington, a researcher at KPMG International, an Anglo-Dutch multinational professional services network. According to Harrington, she conducted the research to prove or disprove MIT's theory. She studied 10 key variables, including population, industrial output, population, fertility rates, pollution levels, food production etc.

Herrington concluded that the world could actually experience a "total societal collapse" by 2040. Her data was found most closely aligned with two particular scenarios from the original study: Business-as-usual (represented as BAU2) and CT (Comprehensive Technology). According to Herrington's report, which was published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology, both scenarios "show a halt in growth within a decade or so from now" and indicate that continuing business as usual, that is, pursuing continuous growth, "is not possible."

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The KPMG researcher's study has been described in details by various publications, including Vice, The Daily Mail and Livescience. It is also available on KPMG's website.

In their research, the MIT researchers had envisaged 12 scenarios, most of which projected a point at which natural resources would become so scarce that any future growth would become "impossible", and personal welfare would decline. Published in that year's bestselling book, The Limits to Expansion, the study had described the imminent "collapse" as a point which would see standards of living around the world deteriorate, for decades, and not a point which would be the "end" of the human race.

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