Limits to Growth: Beyond the point of inflexion
Organized by A/Professor Bruce Henry
12/11/2013 - 12/12/2013
University of New South Wales, Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Forty years ago an international team led by Professor Dennis Meadows carried out a major study of growth in five key areas; population, agricultural production, natural resources, industrial production and pollution. The team concluded that, if current trends continued, limits to growth would be realized within one hundred years with a sudden and uncontrollable decline in population and industrial capacity. Many of the projections on resources and pollution proved to be incorrect, with technological advances reversing trends. However the central (mathematical) result, that continued exponential growth is not sustainable indefinitely, is indisputable, and we have now entered an era, beyond the point of inflexion, where the rate of population growth is slowing.
What impact would a stagnant population have on GDP? Is GDP growth forever sustainable? Is GDP the best measure of ‘well being’? Can mathematical models guide policy makers in answering these questions?