The word degrowth stands for a family of political-economic approaches that, in the face of today’s accelerating planetary ecological crisis, reject unlimited, exponential economic growth as the definition of human progress. To abandon economic growth in wealthy societies means to shift to zero net capital formation. With continual technological development and the enhancement of human capabilities, mere replacement investment is able to promote steady qualitative advancements in production in mature industrial societies, while eliminating exploitative labor conditions and reducing working hours.

Why would net zero capital formation do any of that? Technological development (I assume they mean total factor productivity increases) would still deliver both GDP and ohysical economy growth even with net zero capital formation. We’d be right where we are – maybe slower, but in the long term the same.

They’re just throwing words around, aren’t they?

What “accelerating planetary ecological crisis”?

What “exponential economic growth”? Does the economic growth rate naturally accelerate over time? Give examples in history.

A load of eco-fantasy wibble. What does “the enhancement of human capabilities” mean?

‘specifically targets the most opulent sectors of the world population’

Presumably this means MY savings!!

@ Boganboy

Yes … but not their own

Philip: Exponential growth does not require the growth rate to increase over time (in fact, that’s higher than exponential growth). Exponential growth

isgrowth at a constant rate – which leads to an ever-larger economy. Generally, western (at least) economies have seen a 2%-4% annual growth rate over extended periods, which is, indeed, exponential growth.Utter cockrot. The definition of exponential growth is “becoming more rapid over time”, so accelerating growth. What we have in most of the world is variable, largely incremental growth at best.

If growth is 2% over time then what we have is linear growth. Exponential growth is easy to test/spot as it shows up as a straight line on a Log10 scale.

Thank you JG and BiN. For a moment I thought I was going mad.

Great headline in today’s Times: Psychiatrist Held Over Severed Head In Love Hotel.

Upside down?

Sorry John, dcardno is correct.

Exponential growth has a fixed growth

rate. It’s the numbers resulting from that fixed rate of multiplication that gives the typical curve.f(x)= x^y , where y>1 for growth.

BinD, you may be right,

the munchkins take “economic growth” as simply substracting last year’s GNP with this year’s, and express it as a percentage from the previous year’s GNP. Y’know… Spud Style.ifBut that’s not growth, but increase. Or rather influx, as that increase

mustcome from outside if they pretend to have a “closed” economic system.Although I can’t for the life of me imagine anyone stupid enough to invest in such a setup.

Plus you’d better express whatever economy they have in something that’s actually more or less stable and not dependent on whatever token of exchange they use.

And include the Black Market….

I’ve a feeling that this is one of the cases where Journalists, Politicians, and Economists use different definitions for mathematical concepts than the rest of the civilised world.

Which does explain Spud and the Guardian…

No. He isn’t. We’ve literally cut-and-pasted the definition of exponential growth and it is nowhere near what dcardno was talking about. 2-4% growth a year is linear at best (not that we get even that).

Exponential growth rapidly goes up like a rocket in an exponential curve. You ain’t gonna get that from 2-4% growth a year.

@ John Galt

Exponential growth is shown by the graph of y=n*e^x.** It does not go up like a rocket which is a vertical line x=k.

2-4% p.a. growth is linear in that it is a *curved* line not a straight line.

A straight line would be y=k+.02x not y=f(x) where f(n+1)=1.02*f(n)

I don’t know where you got *your* definition of exponential growth, but it only fits where it touches – exponential growth is greater *in absolute amount* but not relative to the actual value.

Exponential takes its name from the defining term, determining the speed being the “exponent” of the base.

Expletive deleted, this is schoolboy maths!

** It could equally be y=k*10^x

Yes you are. It doesn’t have to be “like a rocket”. 100% growth per annum (compounded of course) would look like an exponential rocket. 2% not so (unless you severely shrink the time axis). But they have the same relational basis.

(Responding to JG)

total=100

FOR y=1 TO 25

PRINT INT(total)

DRAW y*25,total*3

total=total*1.05

NEXT y

100

104

110

115

121

127

134

140

147

155

162

171

179

188

197

207

218

229

240

252

265

278

292

307

322

Looks fairly exponential to me. Doubles in 15 cycles, triples in 25 cycles, four-fold in 29 cycles, five-fold in 34, six-fold in 38.

I know what exponential growth looks like.. Biologists famously grow bacteria… *lots* of them.

The other classic, and more “economical” example is: “a savings account of x with y% interest, compounded yearly/quarterly/etc.” , which is more applicable here.

But…

https://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_1970_2020UKb_17c1li011lcn__UK_Gross_Domestic_Product_GDP_History

That is not linear… and looking at the raw data, inflation-corrected, so expressed in modern equivalents of quids.

Over the entirety of records it’s actually more asymptotic than anything else.

@jgh Nice!

I was reading this thread and thinking “these people don’t know what a percentage increase means”, but I didn’t think to demonstrate it. Your demonstration is simple, concise and undeniable.

A link to this article is in Hacker News. It looks at the actual ongoing decline in birthrate over much of the world. A more considered analysis than the crap that Tim found.

@jgh: why is the second number in your output list 104? Surely it should be 105?

“What does “the enhancement of human capabilities” mean?”Economic growth.

Without bothering to investigate the specific system that jgh is running, I would suggest rounding. As computers work in base 2 (binary) but his script is displaying base 10 integers, it would go something like:

100 (base 10, but converted to base 2) * 1.05 (base 10, but converted to base 2) comes out as 104.9999999 (when converted back to base 10). INT() is truncating just the integer part rather than rounding to the nearest, so is displaying as 104. The calculation continues with 104.9999999 so is near enough in the following steps.

“100 (base 10, but converted to base 2) * 1.05 (base 10, but converted to base 2) comes out as 104.9999999 (when converted back to base 10). INT() is truncating just the integer part rather than rounding to the nearest, so is displaying as 104. The calculation continues with 104.9999999 so is near enough in the following steps.”

Thank you.

BiND:

Yes indeed – or Ln, or log(

any base)And if you would care to plot 2% annual growth (or pick your constant growth rate), it will show up as an upward-sloping curve on a value plot (if the growth rate is positive), and linear on a log plot. The alternative, mentioned up-thread, of increasing growth rates shows up a

sharplyupward-sloping curve on a straight plot, and as an upward-sloping curve on a log plot (assuming both initial growth and increase in growth are both positive).I am seriously surprised (and slightly dismayed) by the people here who don’t understand

exponential