Climate change, mounting consumer and government debt, and the coming scarcity of cheap fossil fuels. Together, says one local analyst, they spell an end to surging economic growth.
Some forecasters believe that China may emerge as the next driver of international economic expansion. But Richard Heinberg, the Santa Rosa analyst and author of The End of Growth, cautions that their recent growth is no more sustainable than that of the industrialized west.
But Heinberg predicts that hard times are heading for the European Union even sooner.
The sort of sweeping societal and attitudinal changes that Bhutan is demonstrating may seem impossibly idealistic. But Heinberg believes the stakes are high enough to justify pursing it.