The authors of The Limits to Growth predicted that before 2013, the world would have run out of aluminum, copper, gold, lead, mercury, molybdenum, natural gas, oil, silver, tin, tungsten, and zinc. Oil and natural gas were to run out in 1990 and 1992, respectively; today, reserves of both are larger than they were in 1970, although we consume dramatically more. Within the past six years, shale gas alone has doubled potential gas resources in the United States and halved the price.
UPDATE – Nextbigfuture has a new article that goes into the Limits to Growth and the updates in more detail. The new article has links to the online copy of Limits to Growth, the 28 page update synopsis and other defenses and critiques.
As for economic collapse, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that global GDP per capita will increase 14-fold over this century and 24-fold in the developing world.
The genius [insidiousness] of The Limits to Growth was to fuse these worries with fears of running out of stuff. We were doomed, because too many people would consume too much. Even if our ingenuity bought us some time, we would end up killing the planet and ourselves with pollution. The only hope was to stop economic growth itself, cut consumption, recycle, and force people to have fewer children, stabilizing society at a significantly poorer level.
We need to focus on real problems and the relatively easy solutions.
* Elimination of extreme poverty – below $1.25 per day is achievable in 10-15 years
The World Bank President outlined a plan to reduce extreme poverty to less than 3% of the world’s population by 2030. This is pretty much the same poverty target suggested by Nextbigfuture.
Brookings Institute analysis of poverty has better numbers than the World Bank. Brookings institute indicated the 2015 the extreme poverty should be down to 10% or less of the world’s population. Down from 47 per cent in 1990 and 24 percent in 2008. It seems that a goal of getting extreme poverty down below 5% is easily possible for 2025. This would leave about 350 million people living with less than $1.25/day mainly in Africa. Nigeria is actually doing pretty well economically and is expected to account for 90-100 million of the extremely poor in 2015. If Nigeria continues to do well then they could make a lot of progress against poverty by 2020. A reachable positive scenario is to have less than 200 million living with less than $1.25/day. An extreme poverty rate of 2.5%.
The World Bank should adopt my other suggested targets.
Continue progress on Child survival
The number of under-five deaths worldwide fell from more than 12.0 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. The goal should be to bring under five deaths worldwide below 1 million by 2025.
Saving a lot of babies and children has many low cost solutions like clean birthing kits
Universal vaccinations is also achievable at low cost by providing energy efficient refrigeration.
Illiteracy is a big problem for rapid progress against $2/day poverty – Near Poverty Target
It is also conceivable to have less than 1 billion living on less than $2/day in 2020 (near poverty target). However, this is a tougher area to make a lot of progress. The reason being is that there are high levels of illiteracy in India and Africa. Someone who is 15 or over now and is illiterate will be 25 or older in 2020 and will be illiterate. India likely has 30-40% illiteracy. Some who are considered literate only have to be able to write their name. This is not true literacy.
Bring the global middle class at $10/day PPP could double from 2 billion to 4 billion by 2025
We can get smoke free cookers to all people which would save lives and improve health.
Faster and cleaner economical development
* develop factory mass produced deep burn nuclear fission
* continue the adoption of Broad Group factory mass produced skyscapers
* rollout multigigabit internet and then terabit internet after taht
* Spacex reusable rockets for cheap space access
* robotic cars and other automation
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.