Financial singularity

Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 17:24:30 MDT

A few weeks ago Scerir pointed to:
This paper (published, oddly enough, in a "condensed matter" archive)
extrapolates population and financial trends forward and comes to an
apparent singularity in the 2050-2060 time frame.

The paper is similar in spirit to Robin's,
which it references. They use a different model, essentially a power
law acceleration in the growth rate, which produces a singularity.
This is then modified with a periodic term and it seems to fit their
data reasonably well. By that time though there are so many parameters
to tweak that the fit isn't all that hard to achieve. I don't know
how the fit and/or parameter counts compare with Robin's model.

The curious thing about the paper is the conclusion. After going
through equation after equation, graph after graph showing infinite
economic output and population in the mid 21st century, they now proceed
to interpret their results. There are two scenarios presented: either
the human race essentially wipes itself out through ecological disaster,
or it manages to limit its population growth and live in harmony with
the earth, a "balanced symbiosis with nature." "Perhaps what is needed
to avoid the finite-time singularity is a massive transfer of resources
from developed to developing countries."

The seem to be utterly ignoring their models as offering any real insight
into the possibility that economic output could rise to unheard of levels
in the next few decades. After all the charts and equations pointing
towards something incredible happening, they continue to see the future
in conventional terms. What a letdown.


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