The Public Interest

A Political Fiction?

Steven Lagerfeld

Fall 1979

IN 1972, the report of the Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth, predicted global catastrophe within as little as 70 years if industrial society continued in what the report considered its wasteful ways. Although the book was a resolutely technical document, packed with charts, graphs, and statistics, it was startling enough to capture the imagination of many. But if it was dramatically clear about the catastrophes that would result if all those curves shot off into outer space, it left the shape of its “alternative” futures more than a little fuzzy. The Limits to Growth galvanized a constituency of environmentalists and others with roots in the “counterculture” for an answer to the question, “What is to be done?”

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