The world as we know it is doomed. And no, this is not a Mayan prediction again. This time, it’s NASA.

A new study by experts says that the world could suffer a tremendous and irreversible collapse, with industrial societies at fault.

In the coming decades, modern civilization is heading for this collapse due to growing economic instability and the pressure exerted on the planet by the industries’ unsustainable appetite for resources.

The mathematicians involved in the scientific study funded by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center used theoretical models to predict the effects of current practices on the industrial world, and found that things looked grim even with conservative estimates.

The causes of this imminent collapse are a combination of factors like the unrestricted exploitation of resources, unequal distribution of wealth, and its over-consumption. Though the correct use of technologies available to us could possibly facilitate efficient use of resources, it also results in an increase in the consumption of resources both on an individual and scale level. This creates an overall nullifying effect. The stratification of wealth leads to a huge economic gap between the rich and poor, also contributing to the decline.

The study also noted that human civilization did appear to be on the path to sustainable ways of life for a period of time. However, this period would not last for long, since eventually the optimal depletion rate of resources would be overstepped on by the elite, who would grow in number and consume more than what can be allowed. This would inevitably lead to a famine in the masses that would cause a collapse in society.

When all these factors converge, they can cause breakdown in society, according to the study.

In the study, it was said that this process of rapid development followed by its destruction was actually a recurring cycle that occurred in advanced societies throughout history.

They referred to the collapses of sophisticated civilizations in the past, including the Roman and Gupta empires, and say that the elites in society did not take threats to its foundation seriously until it was too late. This leads the study to deduct that even complex, well-established polities could be incredibly tenuous and transient in nature. The fall of these empires, the most famous one being that of the Romans, proved the point.

The report, however said that the collapse was not inevitable – there was still a way out. It called for action from the ‘elites’ to restore the economic balance. Equilibrium in population could be attained if the rate of depletion of resources is reduced to a sustainable level, with the equitable distribution of the same. There was also the need to rely on less intensive renewable resources in order to lessen the damage to the environment.

All in all, it was imperative that strong efforts to conserve the earth’s resources began immediately, to create a more stable economic frame that provided for fair and reasonable consumption of the same, by everyone in the world.