The Limits to Growth is the title of a small book, published in 1972, that summarizes for policymakers and lay people the main findings of a two-year research project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The project was commissioned by the Club of Rome and carried out by a team of 17 scientists, led by Dennis L. Meadows; it utilized systems dynamics and computer modeling based on the work of Jay Forrester.

Primary Sources

Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III. The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. Washington, DC: Potomac Associates, 1972.

Meadows, Dennis L. and Donnella H. Meadows, eds. Toward Global Equilibrium: Collected Papers. Cambridge, MA: Wright-Allen Press, 1973.

Meadows, Dennis L, et al. Dynamics of Growth in a Finite World. NY: Wright-Allen Press, 1974.

Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, and Jørgen Randers. Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 1993.

Donella H. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and Dennis L. Meadows. Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2004.

Donella H. Meadows and Dennis L. Meadows. “The History and Conclusions of The Limits to Growth.” System Dynamics, 23:2–3 (October 2007).


Peter Passell, Marc Roberts and Leonard Ross. “The Limits to Growth.” The New York Times (April 2, 1972)

Cole, H. S. D., Christopher Freeman, Marie Jahoda, and K. L. R. Pavit, eds. Models of Doom: A Critique of the Limits to Growth. New York: Universe Books, 1973.

William. D. Nordhaus. “Word Dynamics: Measurements without Data.” The Economic Journal. 83, No. 332 (1973) 1156–1183.

Beckerman, Wilfred. In Defence of Economic Growth. London: Jonathan Cape, 1974.

Ronald Baily. “Dr. Doom” Forbes. (Oct 16, 1989) 45.

William. D. Nordhaus. “Lethal Models 2: Limits to Growth Revisited.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. No. 2 (1992).

Julian Simon. The Ultimate Resource II. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Bjørn Lomborg and Olivier Rubin. “The Dustbins of History: Limits to Growth.” Foreign Policy. No. 133 (2002) 442–44.

Douglas, Richard. “Growthism and the Green Backlash.” The Political Quarterly. 78 (2007) 547–555.

Ronald Bailey. “After 53 Earth Days, Society Still Hasn’t Collapsed.” Reason. (April 22, 2022)

Background & Commentaries

Aurelio Peccei and Daisaku Ikeda. Before It Is Too Late. Tokyo, Japan: Kodansha International, 1984.

Allan AtKisson. Believing Cassandra: How to be an Optimist in a Pessimist’s World. Second Edition. Routledge, 2010.

Ugo Bardi. The Limits to Growth Revisited. New York: Springer, 2011.

Ugo Bardi and Carols Alvarez Pereira, eds. Limits and Beyond. NP: Expat Press, 2022.


Graham A. Turner. “Is Global Collapse Imminent? An Updated Comparison of The Limits to Growth with Historical Data.” MSSI Research Paper No. 4. Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (2014). 

Safa Motesharrei et al. “Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies” in Ecological Economics. 101 (May 2014) 90–102.

Herrington, Gaya. “Update to Limits to Growth: Comparing the World3 Model with Empirical Data.” Journal of Industrial Ecology. 25, Issue 3 (2021): 614–626.


Club of Rome

The Donella Meadows Project

Cassandra’s Legacy

The Seneca Effect


Tipping Point: The True Story of “The Limits to Growth”


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