1972 Prediction That Society Will Collapse This Century Set To Come True

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 15 Jul 2021 17:04
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A 1972 Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) study predicted that a societal collapse may occur in the mid-21st century, and sadly we’re on track for it to come true.

The decades-old study warned of the risk of industrial civilisation collapsing due to rapid economic growth.


Using a system dynamics model published by the Club of Rome, a Swiss-based global think tank, scientists at MIT identified impending ‘limits to growth’. The Club of Rome is made up of former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists and business leaders.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute for Technology) MIT Institute Events/YouTube

The limits to growth meant that a decline in the availability of natural resources in addition to rising costs would eventually go on to affect continued economic growth between 2020 and 2030, The Guardian reported. With this in mind, it was predicted that industrial civilization was on track to collapse sometime within the 21st century.

Further concerns were raised in 2008 after Australia’s federal government scientific research agency CSIRO conducted its own study, which also predicted a ‘potential global ecological and economic collapse’ in the middle of the 21st century.


CSIRO cited ‘peak oil, climate change, and food and water security’ as the issues that were putting the globe ‘on track’ to this date.

Pieces of items from the burning foreign ship X-Press Pearl (PA)PA

Yet another study was done a year later, which was published in American Scientist. The review, conducted by leading systems ecologists Professor Charles Hall of State University of New York and Professor John W Day of Louisiana State University, noted that the 1972 estimations were yet to be ‘invalidated’.

The review results read, as per The Guardian:


Almost exactly on course some 35 years later in 2008 (with a few appropriate assumptions)… it is important to recognise that its predictions have not been invalidated and in fact seem quite on target. We are not aware of any model made by economists that is as accurate over such a long time span.

Despite concerns being raised 14 years ago that we were on track to fulfil MIT’s Limits To Growth forecast, we’re still on track.

 A monitor shows the trading infomation at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) (PA)PA

Nearly 50 years on, a study was published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology in November 2020 that echoed concerns raised in MIT’s 1972 forecast, and concluded that the current path we’re on in terms of global civilization could see a societal collapse by 2040, Vice reports.


Gaya Herrington, a Sustainability and Dynamic System Analysis Lead at KPMG, conducted the study to see if MIT’s predictions ‘stood the test of time’ – and worryingly, they do.

Herrington analysed namely population, fertility rates, mortality rates, industrial output, food production, services, non-renewable resources, persistent pollution, human welfare, and ecological footprints to get her results.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, MIT, no-article-matching, Science, Study, World News


The Guardian and 1 other
  1. The Guardian

    Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy'

  2. Vice

    MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule.