Economic expansion cannot continue unhindered and physical limits may soon end the current phase of development, according to a new analysis looking back at the 1972 report “The Limits to Growth,” which was shared on Twitter by the scientific journal Nature.
Economic Expansion: How Long? Decisions on investment and policy are made under the assumption of continuous economic expansion, Thomas Murphy Jr, the author of the article, said. A finite world of finite resources will not support indefinite growth, he added.
The paper also warned of a significant collapse before 2100, most likely by the middle of the current century. This can't be prevented by simultaneously doubling estimated resources, amplifying technological substitutions and efficiencies, aggressively recycling and applying strict pollution control, but by imposing explicit limits on industrial output and demanding that birth rates match death rates, it said.
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Musk’s Take: Tesla, Inc. TSLA CEO Elon Musk, who through his electric vehicle company and other ventures strives for sustainable development, chimed in with his views.
“Technically true, but Earth’s economy is extremely far from physical limits,” the billionaire said.
“Energy is the foundation of the economy, but we’re using a very tiny amount of available energy, even if we only used PV [Photovoltaic],” he added.
Technically true, but Earth’s economy is extremely far from physical limits.
Energy is the foundation of the economy, but we’re using a very tiny amount of available energy, even if we only used PV.
One of Musk's missions is also to make humans a multi-planetary species, and his SpaceX venture is working toward settling humans on Mars.
Photo: Courtesy of NVIDIA Corporation on flickr
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