National Geographic : 1976 Jul
population. If that is the case, we must then think of zero economic growth as well. This is profoundly overturning to all our thinking processes. We face the prospect that growth-the central driving principle of economics will come to an end. This "steady state" economy I have predicted would not necessarily imply distresses. I think it might be a considerable improvement on our present condition, for the end of economic growth does not mean a stationary state of human improvement. Such an economy, rather, would be engaged in recycling materials and in cherishing renewable resources; the key to both will be the mastery of new sources of energy. The principal enterprise will be education, the perfection of the individual through education for all. When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will regulation by the year 2000 will be much like that set out in the American Law Institute's Model Land Development Code, with the state making the final decisions on large-scale development, on sensitive geographic areas, and on development that has a regional impact. If we are going to have a rational and equitable growth policy, we must get rid of this nonsense that every small community may define the public welfare in its own image, and decide through its zoning and subdivision regulations which economic classes it's going to let in and which it's going to keep out. It is equally unreasonable be great changes in the code of morals. It will also be difficult to distinguish work from leisure, with human needs satisfied by some more equitable system of distribution. People will engage in work for their own satisfaction. On the question of land use, I think it is perfectly clear that we're going to see the end of suburbia. The suburban dwelling is the most wasteful of resources and of energy. All of the public investment in highways, sewers, and all the rest that makes this system possible is accomplished for the more fortunate at the expense of the less fortunate. Suburbia represents the "every-man for-himself" morality. We're going to see the American people resettle in the city. City life will now become a communal task and a cooperative enterprise. In the countryside we can expect to see intensive multiple use that in our large cities sub communities of 50,000 to 100,000 people have practically no voice in land use decisions that affect their neighborhoods. We must figure out a way to "suburbanize" the inner city neighborhoods-to give them more of a voice. I believe another feature of the year 2000 will be that large-scale ownership of the land will be treated much as we treat public utilities today. Price, rate of return, and soundness of investment will all be subject to scrutiny. Why should the utilities be singled out while the market in real estate continues to operate by 19th century rules? of the land-and a restoration of the values of rural and wilderness life. The productive land and the wilderness will be the "commons" of society. It's quite apparent we will be living in the post petroleum age. If we make the response we have to make to it, we will need to invest at least 600 billion dollars in our energy plan between now and the end of the century. Now if that 600 billion dollars in investments cannot be the energizer of the economy and of the entire social apparatus to accomplish marvelous changes and improvements in the way Americans live, then we really are lost. We stand around wringing our hands over this energy question. In point of fact, this is a godsend of an opportunity to get the private and public sectors together in conducting a major enterprise-the reconstruction of our country. I suggest that by 2076 dealing in land in the marketplace by government will be an accepted practice. Government will own land, not merely to control growth, but to control price and influence the market. By the year 2076, unless we achieve a racially integrated society, you are going to see our big cities substantially all white. In the next 20 years at the longest, the suburbs, where the jobs are already moving, will be open to blue-collar blacks. Whether that will "Johannesburgize" our cities black suburbs surrounding a white core-is another question.