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Macroscopic minimodels of the flows of energy in producing the structural basis of our world of man and nature help the simple mind of man see the reasons for the rapid changes coming as we shift from a growth economy to a declining economy and finally to a steady state pattern. Twenty points are made to explain the energy control of our economy and the relationship of environment. Inflation is driven by increasing energy expended in getting energy; Environmental protection is an ally rather than antagonist of energy conservation; marginal energy sources become less useful as main energy sources decline; There is little potential in solar technology as it competes poorly with solar work in natural environments, agriculture, forestry, and other ancient ways of utilization; Net reserves of energy are much smaller than gross energies, and the cresting of world urban technological growth may be much closer than predicted by most government advisors. There are great hazards for the country that attempts to continue a growth economy when the time has come for reconversion to the steady state. If inferences from natural ecosystems in steady state are correct, the steady state for man may be a golden era of stability and individual fulfillment.
Ambio © 1973 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences