Exponential Growth Revisited

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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#21  Postby Thommo » Nov 13, 2013 1:17 am

stevecook172001 wrote:
Thommo wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:It's really quite a simple proposition, and as much as you'd like to decouple the resource base from growth, that can't be done because (growing) populations will always be consuming resources, building more and more homes and cars and refrigerators and TVs and factories, and consuming ever larger quantities of food. IP may drive growth in some sectors, but it won't ever become the exclusive driver or even the principle driver.


Economic and population growth are totally separate issues, you can't just equivocate between them.
Economics and population growth are utterly connected.


Connected and equal are utterly different concepts, you can't equivocate between those either. It's fairly obvious that politicians aren't advocating population growth when they advocate economic growth and it really is quite unreasonable to debunk a "myth" based on a misrepresentation, which is what Fact Man was doing there.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#22  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 13, 2013 5:16 pm

They both need to stop and, indeed, reverse.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#23  Postby stevecook172001 » Nov 13, 2013 11:36 pm

Thommo wrote:
stevecook172001 wrote:
Thommo wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:It's really quite a simple proposition, and as much as you'd like to decouple the resource base from growth, that can't be done because (growing) populations will always be consuming resources, building more and more homes and cars and refrigerators and TVs and factories, and consuming ever larger quantities of food. IP may drive growth in some sectors, but it won't ever become the exclusive driver or even the principle driver.


Economic and population growth are totally separate issues, you can't just equivocate between them.
Economics and population growth are utterly connected.


Connected and equal are utterly different concepts, you can't equivocate between those either. It's fairly obvious that politicians aren't advocating population growth when they advocate economic growth and it really is quite unreasonable to debunk a "myth" based on a misrepresentation, which is what Fact Man was doing there.
Economic growth, in a system of money creation where money is lent into existence at interest, requires an ever increasing population of consumers to cover the debt and to give all of the new money a home to go to.

It's a pyramid ponzi schme and, like all pyramid ponzi schemes, you need new suckers entering at the bottom in ever greater numbers.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#24  Postby Thommo » Nov 14, 2013 1:21 am

That's just not true, there's no such physical, mathematical or logical requirement. This is why the typical expression of GDP growth - the very most basic figure we hear about it on a daily basis - is GDP per capita and the second most basic is inflation-adjusted GDP per capita.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#25  Postby Macdoc » Nov 14, 2013 1:25 am

GDP growth can be completely insulated from unsustainable resource use...to conflate the two is entirely nonsense and then tangling the completely broken monetary system within that misguided idea is the height of misunderstanding.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#26  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 14, 2013 2:27 am

Thommo wrote:That's just not true, there's no such physical, mathematical or logical requirement.


Thommo, you keep saying this, and it keeps being false. Would you care to address this, in particular the bolded part?

4 Hours wrote:
GT2211 wrote:Another example of a writer who starts off by admitting he knows little about what economists actually postulate but then attempts to debunk his (incorrect) interpretation of exponential growth in economics.

So once again I'll post this.

http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2012 ... s-law.html


Even as an ardent transhumanist, I think Singularitarianism is a pretty far-fetched scenario conceived of by a futurist (Ray Kurzweil) who has already gotten a crapload of predictions wrong. Also, I would like all of you who think that the "virtual" / "service" economy has some sort of ghostly disembodied existence that doesn't depend on physical inputs (including heavy industry goods) to take a good long look at how strongly real GDP and energy use are correlated in a number countries well into the present time, along with other facts:

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2011/11/15/is ... gy-growth/

Gail Tverberg writes:

Why does world energy intensity remain flat, while energy intensity for many individual countries has been decreasing?

We are dealing with a large number of countries with very different energy intensities. The big issue would seem to be outsourcing of heavy manufacturing. This makes the energy intensity of the country losing the manufacturing look better. Outsourcing transfers manufacturing to a country with a much higher energy intensity, so even with the new manufacturing, its ratio can still look better (lower). It is hard to measure the overall impact of outsourcing, except by looking at world total energy intensities rather than individual country amounts.


Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

The libertopian view is almost universally expounded by those who live in post-industrial countries. China advanced to being the stomach of the world economy some time ago and is busily turning Africa into the anus of the world economy, exporting their dirty work to this benighted continent. Libertopians rarely see, or think about, how their world gets made.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#27  Postby stevecook172001 » Nov 14, 2013 2:42 am

Thommo wrote:That's just not true, there's no such physical, mathematical or logical requirement. This is why the typical expression of GDP growth - the very most basic figure we hear about it on a daily basis - is GDP per capita and the second most basic is inflation-adjusted GDP per capita.

Take a dollar, any dollar, and follow it's trajectory throughout an economic system and you will eventually end up in a field somewhere (or mine or fishing territory or oil well etc).

You are erroneously conflating different forms of economic activity.

Primary - wealth creating

Tertiary - wealth creating/redistributing

Secondary - wealth redistributing

Obviously if you look at a part of a system in isolation, secondary activity can be locally wealth creating and tertiary activity can appear to be far more wealth creating than it actually is at the whole-system level. And, even then, such tertiary activity is entirely dependent on the level of primary activity preceding it. But, when viewing the system in totality, the only kind of economic activity that generates growth is primary. Most of everything else is simply moving the chips around the table.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#28  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 14, 2013 2:58 am

When you play a business sim like OpenTTD or Miniconomy, as unrealistic as they are, you actually have a better grasp of the state of affairs than a libertopian. Like you said, everything ultimately leads back to primary industries. B-b-b-but, the digital economy! Sorry, no, this is how the sausage gets made, and there are huge amounts of waste:

http://www.enviroliteracy.org/article.php/1275.html

Improvements can and probably have been made on the process but there are always limits, especially when you're trying to grow and grow and grow and grow the economy, year on year.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#29  Postby Thommo » Nov 14, 2013 3:14 am

The bolded bit doesn't even relate to what I said. :scratch:

You're talking about energy consumption and its link to GDP, not population and its link to GDP. GDP per capita doesn't increase with population (by definition), so Steve's claim specifically asserts that there can be no GDP per capita growth, period.

Now, I could say that he hasn't provided evidence for this and I could say that he has a burden of proof for it, but since it's trivially false, let's just skip that step and accept the facts?

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablo ... th-economy
For example this table (unfortunately the columns are mis-headed, but you can follow the link to the raw ONS data) shows that inflation adjusted GDP per capita grew by 238% from 1951 to 2012, whereas the population grew by only ~40% during the period from 1951 to 2012.

The claim I objected to is just plain false, it is not a fact at all.

ETA: This is a response to post #26, but two posts were submitted while I drafted it.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#30  Postby Thommo » Nov 14, 2013 3:16 am

stevecook172001 wrote:
Thommo wrote:That's just not true, there's no such physical, mathematical or logical requirement. This is why the typical expression of GDP growth - the very most basic figure we hear about it on a daily basis - is GDP per capita and the second most basic is inflation-adjusted GDP per capita.

Take a dollar, any dollar, and follow it's trajectory throughout an economic system and you will eventually end up in a field somewhere (or mine or fishing territory or oil well etc).

You are erroneously conflating different forms of economic activity.

Primary - wealth creating

Tertiary - wealth creating/redistributing

Secondary - wealth redistributing

Obviously if you look at a part of a system in isolation, secondary activity can be locally wealth creating and tertiary activity can appear to be far more wealth creating than it actually is at the whole-system level. And, even then, such tertiary activity is entirely dependent on the level of primary activity preceding it. But, when viewing the system in totality, the only kind of economic activity that generates growth is primary. Most of everything else is simply moving the chips around the table.


Yeah, none of that even relates to the untrue claim that "Economic growth, in a system of money creation where money is lent into existence at interest, requires an ever increasing population of consumers to cover the debt and to give all of the new money a home to go to."

Economic growth doesn't require an ever increasing population of consumers. Simple as that - it's not true.

To accuse me of conflating concepts which don't even appear in the post is missing the mark by a spectacularly wide margin.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#31  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 14, 2013 4:28 am

Thommo wrote:The bolded bit doesn't even relate to what I said. :scratch:

You're talking about energy consumption and its link to GDP, not population and its link to GDP.


Each new person added requires various goods and services, so I imagine that the two are somehow positively and causally correlated, no?

Thommo wrote:GDP per capita doesn't increase with population (by definition)


GDP per capita isn't necessarily the issue when we're talking about limits to growth. China has a relatively low GDP per capita but it is now the world's #1 CO2 emitter.

Thommo wrote:Economic growth doesn't require an ever increasing population of consumers.


That's true but it does require more resources in most cases and especially as limits to efficiency are attained.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#32  Postby Thommo » Nov 14, 2013 5:00 am

4 Hours wrote:
Thommo wrote:The bolded bit doesn't even relate to what I said. :scratch:

You're talking about energy consumption and its link to GDP, not population and its link to GDP.


Each new person added requires various goods and services, so I imagine that the two are somehow positively and causally correlated, no?


Most certainly. Do you think this means that the only possible way for GDP to grow is for population to grow, because that's what a "requirement" would entail? I don't, and I don't think you do either, or at least hope so.

4 Hours wrote:
Thommo wrote:Economic growth doesn't require an ever increasing population of consumers.


That's true but it does require more resources in most cases and especially as limits to efficiency are attained.


Sure, absolutely, but if you're disagreeing with me on these grounds, you're going to need to point out where I've remotely implied the opposite. I pointed out that Steve claimed something that wasn't true and that's all, I think you might have extrapolated beyond what I actually said.

If you are more interested in having a conversation about whether we've already reached the practical limits of efficiency and energy production that's fair enough - in fact I'd applaud the objectivity - but it's a very different conversation than what was already taking place. My whole point in this thread has been that it's based on a false premise - that the conventional view is that there can be unlimited exponential growth (economic, population, whatever), a far more sensible conversation is out there to be had if we simply drop that premise and similar assertions such as "economic growth requires population growth" and discuss where the limits lie and when we will (if ever) attain them.

The graphs on the link you provided were quite interesting in terms of showing how small the gain in economic activity/energy consumption efficiency have been and are quite relevant to that more interesting and reasonable conversation.

For the record I genuinely believe there is an ever increasing need for (non-coercive) population management, energy management and environmental management, but this does not commit me to the most extreme positions on any of these issues, and indeed I don't support them, whether they come from eco-terrorists or doomsayers or anyone else.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#33  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 14, 2013 5:16 am

Thommo wrote:For the record I genuinely believe there is an ever increasing need for (non-coercive) population management, energy management and environmental management, but this does not commit me to the most extreme positions on any of these issues, and indeed I don't support them, whether they come from eco-terrorists or doomsayers or anyone else.


"Extreme" is an empty word. "Doomsayer" is an empty word. The truth doesn't always sit in the middle somewhere. I don't really care to hear either of these words, because they have zero import to the discussion. These are the questions we need to be asking ourselves when it comes to climate change:

  • Is the view I'm considering popular?
  • Does it make me feel good or bad?
  • Is it happening, or is it not happening?

But for the record, as long as we're talking about conventional opinion, it seems the conservative, consensus-oriented (and politicized) body the IPCC is going to be quite a bit more gloomy in the AR5:

http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/20 ... e-changes/

The warnings in the report are dire: by 2100, climate change will lead to a planet in peril, hundreds of millions of people in coastal areas will be flooded or displaced by rising sea levels, food and water supplies are at risk adding to violent conflict, and extreme heat waves will hit hard, especially in urban areas.


The facts justify this view and if someone doesn't like it, well, that's just too bad. The function of the Earth system isn't altered by the simple fact that people think that the correct view is "extreme" or "pessimistic". Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitatis et miseriæ and all that. I sort of look forward to it all myself.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#34  Postby Thommo » Nov 14, 2013 6:07 am

4 Hours wrote:"Extreme" is an empty word. "Doomsayer" is an empty word.


That's just not true, they have meanings, "extreme" means "taking the value that lies towards either the maximum or minimum of a range". "Doomsayer" means "someone who predicts doom".

People with these views exist, there's nothing complicated or empty about that, nor is there anything complicated or empty in me saying that my belief that something should be done does not commit me to the belief that the something must be the most extreme possible reaction, nor does it commit be to the belief that it's already too late.

You'll note that I'm neither commenting on the "truth" of either of those things nor the "truth" of my own position in pointing out that other viewpoints are possible.

Once again almost your entire post doesn't relate to what I said, unless you think that the IPCC are expressing the most extreme viewpoint on the scale (which a descriptor of conservative would certainly imply is not the case). It's also really daft to suggest that the question relating to climate change is a binary "yes/no" when anyone with half a brain knows that it is categorically happening but the questions are to what degree, where, what will the impact be, what can we do to change the trajectory and so on, particularly as I wasn't even explicitly talking about climate change there, it being one of a whole range of issues that come under the category of "the environment".
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#35  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 14, 2013 6:13 am

Thommo wrote:That's just not true, they have meanings, "extreme" means "taking thee value that lies towards either the maximum or minimum of a range. "Doomsayer" means someone who predicts doom.


And they're both irrelevant for the purposes of discussing the impacts of climate change.

Thommo wrote:People with these views exist, there's nothing complicated or empty about that, nor is there anything complicated or empty in me saying that my belief that something should be done does not commit me to the belief that the something must be the most extreme possible reaction, nor does it commit be to the belief that it's already too late.


What is your belief based on?

Thommo wrote:You'll note that I'm neither commenting on the "truth" of either of those things nor the "truth" of my own position in pointing out that other viewpoints are possible.


Incoherent.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#36  Postby Thommo » Nov 14, 2013 6:16 am

4 Hours wrote:
Thommo wrote:That's just not true, they have meanings, "extreme" means "taking thee value that lies towards either the maximum or minimum of a range. "Doomsayer" means someone who predicts doom.


And they're both irrelevant for the purposes of discussing the impacts of climate change.


We weren't discussing that.

4 Hours wrote:
Thommo wrote:People with these views exist, there's nothing complicated or empty about that, nor is there anything complicated or empty in me saying that my belief that something should be done does not commit me to the belief that the something must be the most extreme possible reaction, nor does it commit be to the belief that it's already too late.


What is your belief based on?


The evidence that I've seen, but since we aren't talking about my belief, I was just stating it as a reponse to all the nonsense about libertopians to dispel that particular line of misreading my posts I've no obligation to justify it, I'm not telling anyone it's right or trying to explain it here. You can dismiss it instantly for all I care, so long as you don't continue arguing against things I'm not writing.

4 Hours wrote:
Thommo wrote:You'll note that I'm neither commenting on the "truth" of either of those things nor the "truth" of my own position in pointing out that other viewpoints are possible.


Incoherent.


You're using that word incorrectly.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#37  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 14, 2013 6:20 am

Thommo wrote:
4 Hours wrote:
Thommo wrote:That's just not true, they have meanings, "extreme" means "taking thee value that lies towards either the maximum or minimum of a range. "Doomsayer" means someone who predicts doom.


And they're both irrelevant for the purposes of discussing the impacts of climate change.


We weren't discussing that.


Climate change is highly relevant to the OP, which is about whether exponential growth can continue indefinitely. It can't.

Thommo wrote:The evidence that I've seen


What evidence?

Thommo wrote:You're using that word incorrectly.


http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dict ... incoherent

"not expressed in a way that can be understood, or not able to talk clearly:"

Holding multiple viewpoints about things where this is only one truth seems, broadly speaking, incoherent.

My opinion is that it is already too late to effect meaningful change. This belief is rooted in facts about the climate such as the Keeling curve data year on year and facts about human psychology. Too much inertia, too many positive feedback loops, too many stupid and greedy people. 350 ppm is no longer attainable, 400 is almost in sight, and in a few short decades, we will have blown through 450 and be well on the way to the 500s.

Not even counting all the methane.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#38  Postby Thommo » Nov 14, 2013 6:22 am

You're not reading what I'm saying, that's about four posts in a row where you've misrepresented what was written. Sorry, but it isn't worth my time to continue talking to you.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#39  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 14, 2013 6:23 am

You said: "something something extreme, something something doomsayers, something something I don't agree [no real reason given]". I pointed out that this is totally vacuous and now you're complaining. So be it.
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Re: Exponential Growth Revisited

#40  Postby WayOfTheDodo » Nov 14, 2013 7:37 am

You can make the economy mostly grow forever. All you need is a collapse every now and then. The collapse will give you a lower starting point, and you can continue the growth.

Of course, the collapse fucks over everyone except a small group of rich and powerful people, but hey, it's worth it to keep the growth going, right?
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