At the time that the limits to growth debate was at its height
the counter culture movement was in full swing in many Western
countries. Young people were rebelling against tradition, authority
and middle class values. These young people were called Hippies.
The limits to growth argument appealed to their anti-establishment
In the 1970s many books and articles attempted to refute the
limits to growth thesis. One well-known book was The
Doomsday Syndrome by John Maddox, editor of Nature,
a leading science journal. Maddox argued that there was no forthcoming
crisis. Another well-known refutation came from Herman
Kahn and the US Hudson Institute, who put forward a more optimistic
scenario. They argued that in two hundred years' time people would
be numerous, rich, and in control of the forces of nature.
Over time the conservatives managed to discredit the limits to
growth argument and the very meaning of sustainability itself
changed from a concept incorporating limits to growth to one that
embraced growth, particularly economic growth.
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