Can We Sustain Endless Growth on a Finite Planet?


A public lecture as part of Welcome Home Week

Start Date

2nd Sep 2015 6:00pm

End Date

2nd Sep 2015 7:30pm


Stanley Burbury Theatre, University Centre, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

E.; T. 6226 2521

Register Now Buttonpresented by

Dr Kerryn Higgs


The notion of ever-expanding economic growth has been promoted so relentlessly that "growth" is now entrenched as the natural objective of collective human effort. The public has been convinced that growth is the natural solution to virtually all social problems—poverty, debt, unemployment, and even the environmental degradation caused by the determined pursuit of growth. Meanwhile, warnings by scientists that we live on a finite planet that cannot sustain infinite economic expansion are ignored or even scorned.

Ideas about limits have been furiously resisted by the economics profession and the corporate sector, which launched massive propaganda campaigns in favour of  private enterprise throughout the twentieth century, and established a parallel academic universe in the think tanks it funded, dedicated to the dissemination of neoliberal principles and to the denial of health and environmental dangers—from the effects of tobacco to global warming.

The idea that growth is essential continues to hold sway, despite the mounting evidence of its costs—climate destabilization, pollution, intensification of gross global inequalities, and depletion of the resources on which the entire modern economy depends.

Kerryn graduated from Melbourne University with first class honours and the Kathleen Fitzpatrick prize for combined History and English Honours. Also awarded first class honours in Graduate Diploma of Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, and received her PhD here, with Geography and Environmental Studies (GES).

Kerryn has published a novel and numerous articles on environment and politics. Her book Collision Course: Endless Growth on a Finite Planet came out in October 2014. She is a University Associate with GES.

She has taught at Melbourne University and UNSW and was recently appointed a Fellow of the International Centre of the Club of Rome.

Refreshments from 5.30pm.


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