Navigating on the Titanic: Economic Growth, Energy, and the Failure of Governance

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Navigating on the Titanic outlines the brief history of economic growth and the private and public institutions – markets, corporations, households, and governments – which underpin that growth. Bryne Purchase examines mega-risks related to our economy’s use of fossil fuels and specifically looks at resource depletion, energy security, and climate change – all’mega-risks’because they are both global in scope and potentially existential in impact. Focusing on North America, with a particular emphasis on the United States, Purchase’s central argument is that the institutions which have produced spectacular economic growth are not capable of acting with prudence to deal with these mega-risks before they become a real danger. He identifies certain institutional design flaws that, while underwriting economic growth, leave society open to potentially catastrophic failure and reveals how these design flaws have been compounded by the stresses of the growing income inequality in society.

Montréal & Kingston : Queen’s Policy Studies. 2013

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