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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Exponential Growth

First a primer on exponential growth arithmetic. This is a twenty-two minute video from 1995.

Well, you can watch the other parts if you wish, but I think the professor has adequately made his point.

Present population growth rates are unsustainable. Present growth rates in the stock market are unsustainable, present trends in many areas, especially resource use, are unsustainable, and the problem is arriving very much faster than anyone is talking about on the news, in the political debates, or even in the conversation about global warming. In all regards, the future for our economic system, an economic system predicated on endless growth, is very bleak indeed.


Microcredit programs (which serve the poorest families in the world, with a sustainable escape from poverty), are growing, currently, averaged over the past ten years, at 34.17% per annum.

This gives a doubling time of just over two years.

100 million families in 2006, at five persons per family equals half a billion people. This doubles to one billion in two years, two billion in four years, and four billion in six years.

This chart (double click to enlarge) shows microcredit growth from 1997 , with the same growth rate extended to 2015. As you can see, the numbers are getting very big, very quickly.

It is important to understand that microcredit is NOT a part of the economic system which is racing to extinction. It is, in fact an entirely different economic system, one that works the opposite way. This is because its foundation was designed by endeavoring to do the precise opposite of a commercial bank.

I could waffle on endlessly on the differences between microcredit and conventional economics, and no doubt will in future posts. However, this recent speech by Dr. Muhammad Yunus hits a lot of good points, and the gist of the matter becomes apparent.

Audio Podcast of Dr. Muhammad Yunus’ Senior Day Address

More later.



    according to this peak oil was last year and it will fall 7% a year, so we'll have half the oil on the market that we do now by 2016, however, our oil usage has been going up faster recently so sooner than that is predicted.

  2. Doesn't look good does it. We are going to have to make some very rapid changes in the way we live, if we are going to stay ahead of this curve.