Author Jeff Rubin on The End of Growth and titlesake Richard Heinberg
High-energy Toronto author and blogger Jeff Rubin admitted that California-based author Richard Heinberg was “somewhat surprised” to hear from Rubin directly that both men had books at various stages of development called The End of Growth.
“He was somewhat surprised, admittedly,” the former CIBC chief economist told the Georgia Straight in a sit-down interview on May 24. “I guess I would be if I was in that situation, too. But I just thought, it would just be too weird if I didn’t tell him.”
Authors Jeff Rubin and Richard Heinberg challenge the concept of growth in their same-named books.
The date was September 2011 and the venue for the strange quirk of fate was the Association of Peak Oil conference.
“And lo and behold, he was selling this book, The End of Growth,” Rubin said. “I said, ‘That’s really weird. I’ve got a book coming out called The End of Growth.’ I had signed a contract in April  with Random House, and what can you say? I figured, well, what’s weirder, not to say something and have him discover this after the fact or say something?”
So when Rubin got back to Toronto, he immediately called Random House Canada publisher Anne Collins. Collins ultimately said it didn’t matter too much, and Rubin noted that the content of each book belongs to the respective author.
“So, all apologies to Richard Heinberg,” Rubin added. “But I will say that the U.S. edition, which is coming out in October, and the U.K. edition, is called The Big Flatline. The Chinese edition, I have no idea what they are gonna call it. That’s the story, and it’s an interesting story because we had never met each other, and in the Association of Peak Oil circles, we are both people who have read our stuff and we end up sitting together at lunch. Isn’t that weird?”
Rubin said his book should be treated as a sequel to his seminal 2009 book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller. Rubin noted in the interview that triple-digit oil prices cause economic downturns. But, paradoxically, they also reduce consumption and result in fewer greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere. As soon as the economy recovers, however, the oil prices will go up again, even if they do drop during a recession, Rubin said. And he said that "has implications going forward".
“I think it implies a static economy or at least an economy whose speed limit has fundamentally changed.”
Rubin will talk about these themes tonight (May 24) at Capilano University in North Vancouver at 7:30 p.m. at the Centre for the Performing Arts.
Author Jeff Rubin tells the Georgia Straight why The End of Growth has the same title as another book.