Halfway There


New Economic Perspectives has the article Halfway There.  It discusses the implications of a NASA study and a WWF study.

If you graph this wildlife population loss, it looks uncannily similar to the graph-line of “Nature” in the HANDY Model: a point is reached where, suddenly, after a steady rise, or a gradual equilibrium, the graph-line of “Nature’s” population changes direction and begins to plummet. What is startling about the HANDY Model is that when this happens, the human populations of “Elites” and “Commoners” continue to rise, crossing the falling graph-line of “Nature.” This is called “overshoot”—the point where the human population begins consuming “Nature’s” resources faster than “Nature” can replenish them. The human population, after some period of “overshoot,” begins (of necessity) to collapse as well. The population of “Commoners” collapses first because the “Elites” are able, for a period of time, to thrive on their “Wealth.” In some iterations of the model, “Nature” recovers after the “Elite” population finally base-lines; in other iterations “Nature” fails to recover at all—the world becomes simply a wasteland, like one of those planets we keep investigating to see if it ever supported life.

This is a food for thought kind of article.  I am not claiming that these studies proved anything, or that we should jump right on it and change our behavior immediately as per the prescriptions in the article. The discussion of no-tillage farming and of a new kind of prosperity were very interesting.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.