Humanity has just completed and age of expansion and population growth without precedent. A quick glance at the history of human population is sufficient to see how different population growth has been in the since the 1700s compared to the thousands of preceding years.
However, that period of rapid exponential growth and expansion has just ended. Yes there is still expansion to new areas, and the population is still growing. But the exponential growth is over. Where are the significant new fertile areas compared to the occupied areas of the world? The expansion from the ‘old world’ to the ‘new world’ is complete. The vast areas North and South America are now populated.
Have you noticed how families are much smaller in today’s world than in the early 1900s? In developed countries, population growth is radically different now than than it ever was in the 1800s and 1900s, but population lag means that we have not really noticed this change, and the full effect has only been felt from the early 2000s.
The change in growth and expansion that has taken place so far is not sufficient to satisfy those worried about the environment or overpopulation, but it is a profound change. What level of growth and expansion going forward is possible or desirable is a topic of debate, but to analyse the data of what is already taking place, is to discover that population growth and expansion is dramatically lower now than any time since the start of the industrial revolution, and the change has only started to impact fully since the year 2000.
The ‘GFC’ was a result of an economic system trying to produce growth of a previous age in a new age where almost all of the growth will be from a bygone era, and achieving sustainability will be the challenge.
I label the the age often referred to as the ‘Growth Age’ and this new age as the ‘Eco Age’, partly because ‘Sustainability’ is too long and also because much debate in this new age will be about ecology. No matter where you sit in the debate, it is hard to deny the debate itself does exist.
Our entire capitalist system of economics has evolved and adapted to this ‘Growth Age’ and will now find itself with a huge challenge to adapt to a new lower growth and expansion that most economists seem to not even realised has become reality.
The ‘Growth age’ is over. May you prosper in the ‘Eco Age’.
Section 2: Expansion in the ‘growth age’.
Section 3: Economic collapse?