I've been trying to explain this (admittedly badly) for a while, but this article by Simon Ratcliffe (chair of the ASPO for SA) puts it really simply and beautifully in terms anyone can understand: The growth example (6%) in the article is for South Africa. As it goes on to state, India and China are growing at 10% - doubling every 7 years. Australia's forecast growth for 2007 is 3.6% - we will (theoretically) double in 19 years. At a growth rate of 3.6%, we will consume more energy and resources over those 19 years than we have in our entire history. Obviously, we don't have the raw resources or energy to do that, so once we reach the physical limits of energy and resources, growth HAS to stall, decline, or collapse - eventually all three in turn. The above is why we can say with absolute certainty that under our current economic system, we are headed for certain negative growth and all that goes with it - rising widespread unemployment (if you expect to be paid in money), a collapse in the value of shares, higher costs for basic items, widespread default on mortgages, widespread bankruptcy etc. I add the above not to frighten people, merely to try and restate in simple terms why the economy cannot keep growing indefinitely, why the economy can never rebound (merely be totally restructured around a concept other than money), and why it is so important to try and reduce your vulnerability as much as possible in the coming years.