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Regensburg 2013 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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SOE: Fachverband Physik sozio-ökonomischer Systeme

SOE 4: Economic Growth and Longevity I

SOE 4.5: Vortrag

Montag, 11. März 2013, 12:30–12:45, H37

Can economic growth last? — •Oliver Richters — Universität Oldenburg, Institut für Physik — Vereinigung für Ökologische Ökonomie

Many economist have no doubt about ongoing economic growth, as long as we shift to a “green economy” getting his energy supply from renewables. But if we assume – nowadays conservative – a world energy consumption growth rate of 2.3 % per year, the power limits of solar radiation to earth are reached within less than 200 years, and even the harvesting of total galaxy throughput would just delay the run-out of energy supply by just one millennium. So let us focus on alternative technologies such as nuclear fission or fusion? Keeping in mind the principles of thermodynamics, every human activity finally ends up as heat. Using Stefan-Boltzmann law calculating earth temperature, the analysis shows why boiling oceans are not even 500 years away under the assumption of exponential growth – even neglecting “peanuts” such as the greenhouse effect. Discontent with this absurdity, more realistic growth schemes has to be taken into account. But all mathematically mandatory show growth rates dropping to zero in the long run, and it can be shown that this is then also valid for growth rates of GDP, that can not be completely decoupled from energy supply. A short insight is given into the significance this trend has for finance, economics, social security and the people on earth.

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