continuous economy growth(MYTH busted)

this video series is great. I first saw it couple of years ago, but I watch it again occasionally just to remind me of the fundamental fact that even small continuous growth has implications that most people just cannot comprehend.

it’s very common among politicians to always say we need to grow. Economy needs to grow. Problem is that it is mathematical fact that continuous growth cannot happen for long. It can happen for a century, but at current levels of economy activity, it’s very unlikely it would continue to grow continuously. Even modest 3.5% growth per year would make the economy double every 20years. In hundred years it would have doubled 5 times. And in every one of those 20 years we would have consumed more than in all the human species history combined. It’s not matter of opinion, people who think economy can grow slowly for ever just don’t understand math. Politicians don’t need to understand decades, they just need to get re-elected.

And when you think that this current growth trend can just barely be maintained with very cheap oil(energy). What are the changes that economy would grow when the energy gets expensive. We could see decade of continuous decline. Just because we haven’t seen decline doesn’t indicate it cannot happen.

I’m not fan of degrowth movement. But it’s a fact that it cannot increase for ever. And 100 years is not forever. It’s relatively short time.

-JP-

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