Posted: Oct 07, 2013 9:42 pm
iamthereforeithink wrote:Its fine to refer to overall growth of the economy for accounting or calculation purposes, but not when you are trying to build a theory about exponential growth and making claims about its nature. Then you have to account for all of its internal dynamics in detail. Otherwise all you get is fallacious conclusions borne of ignorant premises, such as in the OP. It's meaningless to make a claim about the growth dynamics of the overall economy, when you don't independently account for all the different sub-dynamics that constitute it. There is no "net effect" you can talk about coherently when trying to determine the limits to growth, without reference to the constituent parts. Its poor and unscientific methodology, but I'll grant you that it makes for good copy. People tend to prefer simplistic, sweeping generalizations over complex and detailed analyses.

Complex detailed analyses aren't suited to a blog piece, which by its nature has to be generalized.

Nevertheless, the point made in the OP still stands. If the US economy, for example, were to grow at a net three per cent per annum that could not be sustained over any extended period. The global economy is almost five times the size it was a century ago and if it keeps growing at the rate it has, it'll be 80 times bigger come the year 2100. That's just not sustainable, and in fact the slowdown in growth we've seen in the more developed parts of the world in recent years reflects the difficulty of keeping growth goiing at the rate it grew in the post war era.

This is not a theory, it's a practical conclusion. The OP was not trying to "build a theory" about exponential growth, the writer was merely reporting on observations made regarding economic performance. The economy has and continues to grow, to become ever bigger, and his idea is that this can't go on ad infinitum.

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.

The issue has driven many researchers to begin examining no-growth economic systems, such as John Daly at the University of Maryland and the economist Tim Jackson in the UK. They are envisioning "steady-state" structures that does not require growth to sustain themselves.

We canb't hope to sustain a consumer-driven economy ad infinitum. Somewhere along the line we'll have to chage up the way we do eonomics and get ourselves on a sustainable footing.