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 MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression

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Scorpion

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PostSubject: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/5/2012, 10:32 pm

I thought that this was an important study. and it's something that the whole world needs to pay attention to... I was pleased to see that copies of the report were produced and distributed in 37 different languages.

To be honest, I'm more concerned about the unsustainable rate at which a steadily growing global population is using up resources... than my concern about climate change. Both are happening and are related to each other, of course, but if we don't take some steps to reduce our impact on the planet that we call home, then climate change won't be the worst of our problems (although it will make things much, much worse.)

In any case, it's a sobering look at our future. Here are some excerpts from the article. I'll look around for the full report when I get a chance. If anyone else finds it before I do, feel free to post it. Thanks!

Next Great Depression? MIT study predicting ‘global economic collapse’ by 2030 still on track

Quote :
Produced for a group called The Club of Rome, the study's researchers created a computing model to forecast different scenarios based on the current models of population growth and global resource consumption. The study also took into account different levels of agricultural productivity, birth control and environmental protection efforts.

Quote :
Most of the computer scenarios found population and economic growth continuing at a steady rate until about 2030. But without "drastic measures for environmental protection," the scenarios predict the likelihood of a population and economic crash.

However, the study said "unlimited economic growth" is still possible if world governments enact policies and invest in green technologies that help limit the expansion of our ecological footprint.



And If you haven't seen it yet, I humbly suggest that everyone take an hour and watch the video that Heretic has had in his sig line for years...

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
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UrRight



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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/6/2012, 12:41 pm

I heard it on Morning joe or CNN, some expert saying we haven't seen the end yet. But, they or he referred to it as the deepest recession ever.

I wouldn't doubt it bcause 18 million people are out of work. The price of gas soars the price up on everything else.

Obama needs to go back to distributing food at the pantry.
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Scorpion

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/6/2012, 3:40 pm

sigh
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Artie60438

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/6/2012, 3:44 pm

Scorpion wrote:

And If you haven't seen it yet, I humbly suggest that everyone take an hour and watch the video that Heretic has had in his sig line for years...
His signature has changed, Where can I find it.
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Scorpion

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/6/2012, 3:51 pm

Artie60438 wrote:
Scorpion wrote:

And If you haven't seen it yet, I humbly suggest that everyone take an hour and watch the video that Heretic has had in his sig line for years...
His signature has changed, Where can I find it.

No, actually it hasn't changed...

But here it is...

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/7/2012, 5:55 pm

Scorpion wrote:
sigh

I feel ya...

My sig is a bit out of date. I'll find a better version, as well a a transcript and the videos (if you can forgive the terrible production values. Laughing ) Should only take a minute....
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/7/2012, 6:30 pm

Here's the videos. Five parts, about 10 mins each:











The original streaming video is the one in my sig. Older format, though, RealMedia... (I don't think I even have RealPlayer installed anymore.) An MP3 version can be found here.
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/7/2012, 6:44 pm

Pretty much everything can be found on this page.

Full transcript is available here, if you'd rather read it. I just want to highlight my favorite sections:

Quote :
Legend has it that the game of chess was invented by a mathematician who worked for a king. The king was very pleased. He said, “I want to reward you.” The mathematician said “My needs are modest. Please take my new chess board and on the first square, place one grain of wheat. On the next square, double the one to make two. On the next square, double the two to make four. Just keep doubling till you've doubled for every square, that will be an adequate payment.” We can guess the king thought, “This foolish man. I was ready to give him a real reward; all he asked for was just a few grains of wheat.”

. . .

You know, would that be a nice pile here in the room? Would it fill the building? Would it cover the county to a depth of two meters? How much wheat are we talking about?

The answer is, it's roughly 400 times the 1990 worldwide harvest of wheat. That could be more wheat than humans have harvested in the entire history of the earth. You say, “How did you get such a big number?” and the answer is, it was simple. We just started with one grain, but we let the number grow steadily till it had doubled a mere 63 times.

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In the summer of 1986, the news reports indicated that the world population had reached the number of five billion people growing at the rate of 1.7% per year. Well, your reaction to 1.7% might be to say “Well, that's so small, nothing bad could ever happen at 1.7% per year.” So you calculate the doubling time, you find it’s only 41 years. Now, that was back in 1986; more recently in 1999, we read that the world population had grown from five billion to six billion . The good news is that the growth rate had dropped from 1.7% to 1.3% per year. The bad news is that in spite of the drop in the growth rate, the world population today is increasing by about 75 million additional people every year.

Now, if this current modest 1.3% per year could continue, the world population would grow to a density of one person per square meter on the dry land surface of the earth in just 780 years, and the mass of people would equal the mass of the earth in just 2400 years. Well, we can smile at those, we know they couldn't happen. This one make for a cute cartoon; the caption says, “Excuse me sir, but I am prepared to make you a rather attractive offer for your square.”

There's a very profound lesson in that cartoon. The lesson is that zero population growth is going to happen. Now, we can debate whether we like zero population growth or don't like it, it’s going to happen. Whether we debate it or not, whether we like it or not, it’s absolutely certain. People could never live at that density on the dry land surface of the earth. Therefore, today’s high birth rates will drop; today’s low death rates will rise till they have exactly the same numerical value. That will certainly be in a time short compared to 780 years.

Quote :
All right, let’s look now at what happens when we have this kind of steady growth in a finite environment.

Bacteria grow by doubling. One bacterium divides to become two, the two divide to become 4, the 4 become 8, 16 and so on. Suppose we had bacteria that doubled in number this way every minute. Suppose we put one of these bacteria into an empty bottle at 11:00 in the morning, and then observe that the bottle is full at 12:00 noon. There's our case of just ordinary steady growth: it has a doubling time of one minute, it’s in the finite environment of one bottle.

I want to ask you three questions. Number one: at what time was the bottle half full? Well, would you believe 11:59, one minute before 12:00? Because they double in number every minute.

And the second question: if you were an average bacterium in that bottle, at what time would you first realise you were running of space? Well, let’s just look at the last minutes in the bottle. At 12:00 noon, it’s full; one minute before, it’s half full; 2 minutes before, it’s a quarter full; then an 1/8th; then a 1/16th. Let me ask you, at 5 minutes before 12:00, when the bottle is only 3% full and is 97% open space just yearning for development, how many of you would realise there’s a problem?

Now, in the ongoing controversy over growth in Boulder, someone wrote to the newspaper some years ago and said “Look, there’s no problem with population growth in Boulder, because,” the writer said, “we have fifteen times as much open space as we've already used.” So let me ask you, what time was it in Boulder when the open space was fifteen times the amount of space we’d already used? The answer is, it was four minutes before 12:00 in Boulder Valley. Well, suppose that at 2 minutes before 12:00, some of the bacteria realise they’re running out of space, so they launch a great search for new bottles. They search offshore on the outer continental shelf and in the overthrust belt and in the Arctic, and they find three new bottles. Now that’s an incredible discovery, that’s three times the total amount of resource they ever knew about before. They now have four bottles, before their discovery, there was only one. Now surely this will give them a sustainable society, won’t it?

You know what the third question is: how long can the growth continue as a result of this magnificent discovery? Well, look at the score: at 12:00 noon, one bottle is filled, there are three to go; 12:01, two bottles are filled, there are two to go; and at 12:02, all four are filled and that’s the end of the line.

Now, you don't need any more arithmetic than this to evaluate the absolutely contradictory statements that we’ve all heard and read from experts who tell us in one breath we can go on increasing our rates of consumption of fossil fuels, in the next breath they say “Don't worry, we will always be able to make the discoveries of new resources that we need to meet the requirements of that growth.”

Quote :
So let's look now at some of these finite sources. We turn to the work of the late Dr. M. King Hubbert. He’s plotted here a semi-logarithmic graph of world oil production. You can see the lines have been approximately straight for about 100 years, clear up here to 1970, average growth rate very close to 7% per year. So it’s logical to ask, well, how much longer could that 7% growth continue? That’s answered by the numbers in this table (shows slide). The numbers in the top line tell us that in the year 1973, world oil production was 20 billion barrels; the total production in all of history, 300 billion; the remaining reserves, 1700 billion.

Now, those are data. The rest of this table is just calculated out assuming the historic 7% growth continued in the years following 1973 exactly as it had been for the proceeding 100 years.

Now, in fact the growth stopped; it stopped because OPEC raised their oil prices. So we’re asking here, what if? Suppose we just decided to stay on that 7% growth curve? Let’s go back to 1981. By 1981 on the 7% curve, the total usage in all of history would add up to 500 billion barrels; the remaining reserves, 1500 billion. At that point, the remaining reserves are three times the total of everything we’d used in all of history. That’s an enormous reserve, but what time is it when the remaining reserve is three times the total of all you’ve used in all of history? The answer is, it’s two minutes before 12:00.

We know for 7% growth, the doubling time is 10 years. We go from 1981 to 1991. By 1991 on the 7% curve, the total usage in all of history would add up to 1000 billion barrels; there would be 1000 billion left. At that point, the remaining oil would be equal in quantity to the total of everything we’d used in the entire history of the oil industry on this earth, 130 years of oil consumption. You'd say, “That’s an enormous reserve.” But what time is it when the remaining reserve is equal to all you’ve used in all of history? And the answer is, it’s one minute before 12:00. So we go one more decade to the turn of the century—that’s like right now—that’s when 7% would finish using up the oil reserves of the earth.

So let's look at this in a very nice graphical way. Suppose the area of this tiny rectangle represents all the oil we used on this earth before 1940; then in the decade of the 40s, we used this much (uncovering part of chart): that's equal to all that had been used in all of history. In the decade of the 50s, we used this much (uncovering more of chart) : that's equal to all that had been used in all of history. In the decade of the 60s, we used this much (uncovering more of chart): again that's equal to the total of all the proceeding usage. Here we see graphically what President Carter told us. Now, if that 7% growth had continued through the 70s. 80s, and 90s, there's what we’d need (uncovering rest of chart) . But that's all the oil there is.

Now, there’s a widely held belief that if you throw enough money at holes in the ground, oil is sure to come up. Well, there will be discoveries in new oil; there may be major discoveries. But look: we would have to discover this much new oil if we would have that 7% growth continue ten more years. Ask yourself: what do you think is the chance that oil discovered after the close of our meeting today will be in an amount equal to the total of all we’ve known about in all of history? And then realise if all that new oil could be found, that would be sufficient to let the historic 7% growth continue ten more years.

Quote :
Bill Moyers interviewed Isaac Asimov. He asked Asimov, “What happens to the idea of the dignity of the human species if this population growth continues?” and Asimov says, “It’ll be completely destroyed. I like to use what I call my bathroom metaphor. If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then they both have freedom of the bathroom. You can go to the bathroom anytime you want, stay as long as you want, for whatever you need. And everyone believes in freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the constitution. But if you have twenty people in the apartment and two bathrooms, then no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there’s no such thing. You have to set up times for each person, you have to bang on the door, ‘Aren't you through yet?’ and so on.” And Asimov concluded with one of the most profound observations I've seen in years. He said, “In the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive overpopulation. Convenience and decency cannot survive overpopulation. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies, the more people there are, the less one individual matters.”

And so, central to the things that we must do, is to recognise that population growth is the immediate cause of all our resource and environmental crises.

That lecture was given in 2004, and there hasn't been any good news since. We're at the acknowledged peak of oil production, have been for a year or so now, and the only thing we're doing now is attempting to squeeze so much oil out of this rock that we're causing earthquakes.

And to give you an idea just how bad things are going in terms of Scorpions original post, it was only ten years ago that they were telling us we had until 2050. Now it's 2030.

Begging the question... what time is it?
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Artie60438

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/8/2012, 9:21 am

Is this the whole video on YouTube? Arithmetic, Population and Energy It runs 114 minutes.
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/8/2012, 9:28 pm

Yes. Thanks! Didn't know they had a complete version on YouTube. I can finally ditch the RealMedia version... cheers
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Artie60438

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/9/2012, 7:31 am

Heretic wrote:
Yes. Thanks! Didn't know they had a complete version on YouTube. I can finally ditch the RealMedia version... cheers
Great,I can now watch it on my TV via my Roku box.
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: MIT Study Predicts Next Great Depression   4/16/2012, 9:16 pm

Along similar lines, here's one via Ted.com:



Transcript available here:

Quote :
Let me begin with four words that will provide the context for this week, four words that will come to define this century. Here they are: The Earth is full. It's full of us, it's full of our stuff, full of our waste, full of our demands. Yes, we are a brilliant and creative species, but we've created a little too much stuff -- so much that our economy is now bigger than its host, our planet.

This is not a philosophical statement, this is just science based in physics, chemistry and biology. There are many science-based analyses of this, but they all draw the same conclusion -- that we're living beyond our means. The eminent scientists of the Global Footprint Network, for example, calculate that we need about 1.5 Earths to sustain this economy. In other words, to keep operating at our current level, we need 50 percent more Earth than we've got. In financial terms, this would be like always spending 50 percent more than you earn, going further into debt every year. But of course, you can't borrow natural resources, so we're burning through our capital, or stealing from the future.

So when I say full, I mean really full -- well past any margin for error, well past any dispute about methodology. What this means is our economy is unsustainable. I'm not saying it's not nice or pleasant or that it's bad for polar bears or forests, though it certainly is. What I'm saying is our approach is simply unsustainable. In other words, thanks to those pesky laws of physics, when things aren't sustainable, they stop. But that's not possible, you might think. We can't stop economic growth. Because that's what will stop: economic growth. It will stop because of the end of trade resources. It will stop because of the growing demand of us on all the resources, all the capacity, all the systems of the Earth, which is now having economic damage.

. . .

Come on, you're thinking. That's not possible. Technology is amazing. People are innovative. There are so many ways we can improve the way we do things. We can surely sort this out. That's all true. Well, it's mostly true. We are certainly amazing, and we regularly solve complex problems with amazing creativity. So if our problem was to get the human economy down from 150 percent to 100 percent of the Earth's capacity, we could do that. The problem is we're just warming up this growth engine. We plan to take this highly-stressed economy and make it twice as big and then make it four times as big -- not in some distant future, but in less than 40 years, in the life time of most of you. China plans to be there in just 20 years. The only problem with this plan is that it's not possible.
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