The Limits to Growth Revisited Epub ☆ to Growth

The Limits to Growth Revisited This book is the first study of the science, the politics and the polemics surrounding response to thebook The Limits to Growth, in particular the reactions of economists that marginalized its methods and conclusions for thanyears

2 thoughts on “The Limits to Growth Revisited

  1. Dick_Burkhart Dick_Burkhart says:

    As a mathematician I regard the Limits to Growth studies as by far the best mathematical economics ever done It should be the foundational work for the study of macro economics The fact that most economists either ignore or actually reject this remarkable work is a damning indictment of the state of mainstream economics.Ugo Bardi not only gives an intuitive explanation of the methodology of the systems dynamics developed by Jay Forester and elaborated by Dennis and Donella Meadows, but also lays out the sordid history of misrepresentation and political ideological attacks against this methodology This is one of the key reasons that the field of economics has performed so poorly in recent decades The situation is so bad that today geologists with a good knowledge of world oil resources and markets routinely forecast long term global economic trends far better than any Noble prize winner in economics.The top economists have blinded themselves by a narrow ideology centered around private markets and production using simplistic models and outmoded concepts, ignoring the foundational role of natural resources and the environment, not to mention what the social sciences, philosophy, and religion have to teach about what should be the ultimate goal of economics sustainable well being Physicists like Professor Bardi are far better equipped to understand economics from a global perspective than economists themselves, who are poorly trained in science and advanced mathematics.Broad minded economists have recently formed the World Economics Association in an attempt to piece together an economic discipline better matched to the real world, yet only a few, such as Steve Keen from Australia, are grappling with the non linear nature of economics using systems dynamics, let alone chaos theory or the kind of massive computation done by climate modelers, melding a variety of models with a variety of data and producing a range of scenarios.The Limits to Growth model aggregates all economic variables into just five Resources, Pollution, Population, Industrial Output, and Food Then it uses basic scientific principles to develop non linear differential equations feedback loops among these variables with a minimal number of parameters, which may be varied to account for unknown future developments, such as new technology or global governance on the positive side, or break down of governance or industrial systems on the negative side Different values of these parameters lead to different scenarios for the world economy over the course of the 21st century All the scenarios, except the most optimistic, lead to some form of substantial global economic collapse The business as usual scenario suggests that this collapse could come as early as the 2020 to 2030 time frame.Others, such as John Michael Greer, expect that this collapse will come in waves, with each partial collapse freeing up enough resources to allow a partial recovery until declining overall resources and ecosystem destruction force yet another round of deeper collapse and partial recovery, which Greer calls catabolic collapse Current events suggest that the financial meltdown of 2008 was the first small wave of collapse and that the partial recovery will soon max out The lack of growth to pay off debt is already being felt heavily in Europe and some form of default or inflation seems likely in the US within a few years as well, leading to a second wave of collapse.Yet you can do a lot even without the full limits to growth model The reason oil geologists can forecast long term global trends better than economist is that one aggregate variable dominates all the others energy Thus Bardi demonstrates a simple prey predator model humans predator, nature prey and shows how this simplifies to the famous Hubbert curve for the rise and fall of oil production or of the 19th century whaling, or of British coal production, etc Thus peak oil is now in the driver s seat, with peak energy and lots of other peaks not far behind In some countries the revolutions have already begun Arab Spring in others new protests UK riots, US Occupy Wall Street are but hints of what is to come.Meanwhile politicians and economists argue over how to jump start growth, instead of figuring out how to deal with the coming de growth Bardi s short book is an easy to read wakeup call to the scientifically minded, too many of whom have been seduced by a faith in technology that ignores the historical dynamics of the rise and fall of civilizations.

  2. Peter Fawcett Peter Fawcett says:

    As we approach the 40th anniversary of LTG this compact monograph just over 100 pages forms a valuable review, especially for readers who might not have seen the original or the subsequent updates in 1992 and 2004 or the Second Report to the Club of Rome Mesarovic et al Readers might well be encouraged to look out these and many other pertinent references given by the author, so as to fully appreciate the world modeling which LTG conveyed and why it evoked bitter controversy.As Ian Johnson puts it in the Foreword, the book allows us to better understand the controversy following the release of LTG in 1972 and at the same time gain insights into dynamic modeling and some of the key arguments debated About half of the content is devoted to the modeling, half to the controversies.A brief review of background Malthus, the Classical Economists, Vernadsky, Hubbert, Carson, Ehrlich leads to the dynamic systems modeling work of Forrester and his subsequent cooperation with the Club of Rome, a moderate liberal group of industrial and academic leaders motivated by equity issues, so as to develop terrestrial resource quantification models The author gives a useful overview of the challenges of modeling simulation for complex systems and constructively compares LTG with recent work He notes the essentially heuristic goal of such modeling often misunderstood and the importance of understanding validation and robustness convergence of these dynamic simulations.The controversies are shown to have arisen from distinctions between i resource limits of planet Earth as against the powers of human ingenuity and ii growth in material throughput as against growth in economic activity i.e physical measures vs econometrics especially in a context of deficit spending The author s reappraisal of two decades of acrimonious criticism by both scientists and economists seems to be balanced and fair, leading to the sorry conclusion of the definitive separation of two worlds that of economists and that of system scientists On the whole, the debate had died out not because a conclusion had been reached but because it had not generated meaningful scientific results The challenge of homeostatis remains a steady state at a level of industrial and agricultural production, as well as of population, comparable to the present one The author notes that this was possible for the three dates for which the simulations were performed 1972, 1992, 2004 but it became increasingly difficult At the larger population and increased depletion level of today 2011 it may no longer be possible to stabilize the system at the present level.The book implicitly asks what now In chapters 8 and 9 prospects for resource enhancement and technological progress are reviewed The author suggests that world modeling was largely abandoned .we are facing the future without having planned for it but notes the significance of newer focus groups such as the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and, of course, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Supercomputing, especially the UK Japan Earth Simulator Project, has been devoted to climate modeling and the author notes the European plan to adapt and extend this Simulator to full world system capacity.The book is somewhat marred by numerous typo and linguistic errors rather surprising for this publishing house and also a degree of repetition which might have been edited out of a brief text Some diagrams are inadequately captioned, especially the quintessential Figure 2.1 reproduced from LTG what do all those B s, D s and S s represent Figure 6.4 also is not adequately explained.But I found the book very worthwhile.

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