Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This can't possibly be true

All right-thinking economists tell me it's not:
The Limits to Growth modelled scenarios for the future global economy and environment and recommended far reaching changes to the way we live to avoid disaster.

In a paper published in the current edition of the international journal; Global Environmental Change, CSIRO physicist Dr. Graham Turner compares forecasts from the book with global data from the past 30 years.

"The real-world data basically supports The Limits to Growth model," he says. "It shows that for the first 30 years of the model, the world has been tracking along the unsustainable trajectory of the book’s business-as-usual scenario."
If you have access to the paper, I'd reccomend reading it -- pretty accessible, and it's all bad news. The only place where the predictions of LTG really fall down is in their predictions of "services per capita", but at least part of that is the proxy metric that Graham uses, electricity and literacy rates. The result is that the estimates of LTG were overly-optimistic, or to put it another way the one substantial point of disagreement with the LTG model is because we suck even worse than the Meadows' and Randers predicted in the 1970s.

And yet, you'll hear over and over and over that LTG was wrong. You'll hear this because our stupid discourse is run by the mentally deficient.

FYI -- the original LTG standard run showed a collapse of global population starting around 2050.


Jesse said...

Thanks for writing about this. It's baffling how people can pretend like we can grow for ever and yet magically never be too big. Actually, it's not baffling, it's just profitable.

Albert Bartlett was right.

Chet Scoville said...

the estimates of LTG were overly-optimistic

And if that alone doesn't give people the chills, I don't know what would.