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May 08, 2009

Limits To Growth Examined by J Storrs Hall

J Storrs Hall, President of the Foresigth Institute, has an excellent article on "Limits to Growth Model".


Above is the graph for “services per capita” — the upper purple curve [actual observed result is purple, green is the prediction] is electricity, the bottom ones are literacy. This parameter shows again just how lousy LtG is as a model of any kind of causality. Literacy rates are strongly affected by worldwide religions which prohibit the education of women; electricity rates, and thus usage, are affected by everything from resource depletion, which they are trying to measure, to political distortion of technology substitution. Even so, the real-world graphs are just as consistent with a slow-growth or leveling-off null hypothesis as they are with LtG. No hint of a collapse is to be found.


This 1992 Yale paper re-examined the limits to growth







For pollution analysis in the Limits to Growth Update

J Storrs Hall notes:
The “actual data” line has nothing to do with anything that was considered pollution in 1972; it’s CO2. CO2 is a very cheesy proxy for pollution, since the Earth has a hormesis response to its levels: too little of it would be as disastrous as too much (ice ages). Meanwhile, the levels of actual pollutants have gone down in the more advanced industral societies even as they have gone up in the more recently-developing ones such as China. History indicates that pollution levels rise with industrialization to a certain level and then decline, a phenomenon that LtG completely ignores. (and if we’re substituting, why can’t we have “computing cycles per capita” in Services?) So I would claim that this graph is comparing apples and oranges and says nothing substantive.



All Turner’s figures show is that we’ve been on a nice, steady exponential growth curve. They say nothing whatsoever about “mass starvation and economic collapse.” The paper makes not even the slightest attempt to distinguish cases which would support a simple null hypothesis of continued growth from those which would support LtG. There is not one shred of evidence — none — to support the latter.


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Sorry Collapsitarians, Doomers and Dystopians a Full Collapse Will Not Happen

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