Tag Archives: limits to growth

Global perspectives: Technology, Growth, Money, Politics and what to invest in

The Long Termworld-300px

We’re talking 20 years or so here.

In 20  years we’ll be facing Big Stuff.  Climate change, weather volatility, species loss, clean air, clean water, … that whole environment thing will be getting much more serious and everyone will be dealing with it in some way or another.  I’m hoping it’ll make Ireland a bit more like the south of France, and it might, but whatever else, it’s going to make the simple things in life more difficult.  For most of humanity that will include feeding themselves and getting clean water.

So that will make food and land more important.

In 20 years we may well have passed “The Singularity“.  That’s a term coined by futurists, often with a trans-humanist bent, which denotes the inevitable point at which technology development starts happening “by itself”.  This occurs as humanity’s understanding of physics and biology enable the creation of thinking machines (computers) that emulate the brain, and then androids and cyborgs begin to be used in place of people.

Certainly in 20 years technology will have changed our world even more than in the past 20.   Do not imagine The Singularity to be fantasy.  We are close already.  The mobile phone/computer in your pocket is old technology compared with neuro-computers being tested in laboratories.  Robots are already becoming remarkably similar to C-3PO in looks and mobility at least.  Today the consequences are being felt in most professions as AI (artificial intelligence) takes jobs away from humans.  This is what we all wanted – automatic checkout, automatic cashier, automatic accountant, automatic lawyer, automatic vehicle … The challenge now being solved is automatic creativity.

Continue reading Global perspectives: Technology, Growth, Money, Politics and what to invest in

1% own more than everyone else by next year: a decadent milestone in the implosion of civilisation.

 Oxfam research shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year.  Each adult on average has $2.7m.  On current trends the wealthiest 1% will own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016.

Today the 80 richest people have the same wealth as the poorest 50%.  20% of people (including you – sorry!) own 94.5% of wealth.  The average wealth of the poorest 80% is only $3,851 (€ 3,320) per adult.

The wealth at the top is not just from hard work and prudent asset management.  That would at least be honest.  Much of it has been accrued through tax avoidance (even tax evasion), collusion, corruption and confiscation by force.  It’s not just the wealthy that cheat – many people game the system and take housing and unemployment benefit while having jobs – though of course they are not the bulk of the problem.  And overall, humanity has taken too much from nature.

The imbalance will not last.  The longer it takes for fairness (not equality) to dominate our systems, the more likely that rebalancing of wealth will occur by violent revolution, destroying much of the wealth, rather than humane evolution which might preserve wealth.

Systems are clearly breaking down.  Economic systems remain confusing and stagnant despite at least 6 years of patching.  Employment opportunities are shrinking as technology continues to automate production from food, to cars to banking.  Everyday there is another report of environmental disintegration, whether from climate volatility, species loss, or water shortage.  And people are not any more fulfilled.

System change is still possible and increasingly urgent.  Everyone can make a difference by choosing how they invest and spend their money.  But those at the top must lead change or expect to be swept away in violence as society disintegrates in the coming decades.  This is becoming more certain.  The Limits to Growth have been passed.

BBC: Richest 1% to own more than rest of world, Oxfam says

Astraea: Data shows global growth now past tipping point. Global collapse occurring. Whole systems change imperative.

Wikipedia: Limits To Growth

DMI: A Synopsis: Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

Club of Rome: Limits To Growth


Data shows global growth now past tipping point. Global collapse occurring. Whole systems change imperative.

Economic research published by the University of Melbourne analysed the predictions made in the ground breaking 1972 book Limits to Growth, and notes that the actual trajectory followed in the four decades since has followed the worst case scenario.

The 1970s computer model has proved remarkably accurate in predicting developments in the world economy, population and resource consumption, according to the study published by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute.

The Limits To Growth business-as-usual scenario foresaw the beginning of “overshoot and collapse” in about 2015, predicting a death rate rise would start about 2020, with the half-billion-per-decade population declines kicking in from about 2030.

As average standards of living fall at rates faster than they have historically risen due to disruption of normal economic functions (note the global financial crisis) enormous social tensions will rise, especially where wealth inequality is greatest.

Recent data shows that the life span in developed countries is already declining, principally because of diseases caused by over eating.  Surely that is decadent.

Sadly, cynics, like me, can point to a silver lining – that reducing the population is the cure for a planet being consumed by humanity.

The opportunity to enlighten global management systems is waning.  I strongly urge leaders to adopt integral and holonic thinking in renovating systems and policies.  Common Sense must be applied.

University of Melbourne: “Is global collapse imminent? An updated comparison of The Limits to Growth with historical data”  PDF

EU- Environment: “Limits to Growth” predictions borne out, analysis finds