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\F3\C		         LIMITS TO GROWTH
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\Ī»\J	The present and future predicament  of man is the topic  discussed
in the book, LIMITS TO  GROWTH, which is a report  for the Club of  Rome's
project on the Predicament of Mankind.  It is a report developed by a team
of scientists from MIT who, with  the help of computers, produced  several
conclusions as to the possible future of mankind.  The book deals with the
five problems of  population, which they  feel will limit  growth on  this
planet.  The book  basically discusses  the present and  future extent  of
these problems and  emphasizes the  extreme importance  for the  immediate
attention to them that  is required if  mankind is to  escape a very  grim
collapse of social and  economic systems.  The book  is divided into  five
basic parts,  and I  will briefly  summarize them  in the  following  five
paragraphs.
	EXPONENTIAL GROWTH, the increase of  a constant percentage of  the
whole in a constant time period, is the major idea stressed in the opening
chapter.  The French riddle, about the pond on which a water lily  doubles
every day until 3O  days later, when it  covers the entire pond's  surface
beautifully emphasizes  the  tremendous  importance  of  the  concepts  of
exponential growth and doubling time.  The statement of the 29th day, "You
have one day  to save your  pond," serves  to really shock  a person  into
realizing the  utter  significance  of this  concept.   The  chapter  also
describes the structure of the world model with which the authors  worked,
one  with   many   positive  and   negative   feedback  loops   in   which
cause-and-effect relationships  closes on  itself which  accounts for  the
occasional exponential growth  of certain quantities.   One such cycle  is
the population cycle, with the  positive loop being the average  fertility
(births) and the negative loop  being the average mortality (deaths).   In
order to stop exponential growth rates, the loops must be balanced.
	Given exponential growth, what are the upper limits?  These
natural resources, and pollution are  discussed, as they will most  likely
serve to limit the capital and population growth.  The present seriousness
of these problems are described, and hopes for future recovery looks grim.
For instance, the authors predict a  tenfold increase of pollution by  the
year 2OOO.  With problems of  uncertainty of the pollution's upper  limits
and the phenomenon  of natural delays,  the authors view  this as being  a
potentially very serious problem, with little  hope for man being able  to
restore the environment  into livable conditions.   In short, the  chapter
stresses the fact that the earth is finite and that "numerical assumptions
about the limits  of the  earth are  inimportant when  viewed against  the
inexorable progress of exponential growth."
	The five factors, food, population, natural resources, capital and
not only feed  back to influence  themselves, but also  constantly
interact with eachother in very complex  ways.  All five variables are  so
tightly interwoven  in hundreds  of  never ending  circles...the  complete
interdependency of the hundreds of feedback loops upon eachother cannot be
overemphasized.  By  showing  some of  our  present world  behavior  modes
through these interactions, they are able to predict likely behavior modes
for the future if present behavior patterns remain.  The gloomy prediction
is a collapse of population and industrial growth by the year 2OOO due  to
nonrenewable resource depletion.  (Oh boy...)
	With man on the moon and robots on Mars, won't the highly advanced
technology of the 2Oth Century be able to pull the world out of its  grave
situation?  With nuclear  power, the Green  Revolution, and birth  control
and other achievements,  won't the problems  be drastically reduced?   Not
so!, stress the  authors, as they  explain the danger  of the reaction  of
technological optimism.  This, they feel, diverts the attention away  from
the fundamental problem  of exponential  growth in a  finite world,  which
technology cannot  extend.  Man  must stop  fighting against  the  natural
limits with his technology, and instead, learn to accept and live with the
limits.
	The final chapter stresses the need to immediately curb the
exponential growth  of population  and  capital by  balancing  the
loops of the cycle...  forcing the birth rate to equal death rate and  the
investment rate equal the depreciation rate.  Thus, with them  stabilized,
a state of global  equilibrium will be  possible.  It is  emphasized...THE
SOONER THE BETTER...with each day of exponential growth, the world  system
comes closer to the ultimate limits to that growth.  Man will need to make
a tremendous effort to make this quick transfer to global equilibrium.
	I loved this book.  I have read it through three times and have
enjoyed it each time.   It is easy to  read, interesting, and  has
many understandable graphs  which I  feel greatly enhance  the book.   The
book most definitely paints a very  pessimistic and gloomy picture of  the
future, which is what makes the book so effective.  The ideas brought  out
in the book depress  and scare me,  even though the  conclusion ends on  a
cheerier note,  stating  that  global  equilibrium  is  a  very  realistic
possiblity.  The major theme running throughout the book is of course  the
pressing and urgent need to stop the exponential growth of population  and
capital, before a  world-wide collapse  occurs.  This  was presented  very
forcefully and explicitly, which makes the book so valuable.  I would have
liked the book to have included a chapter on the fate of the Americans,  I
wonder if the impact of a possible collapse will hit everyone in the world
with equally horrible effects.  This book is great though, and I wish that
everyone in the world could read it.\.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
\F3\C		      THE LIMITS TO GROWTH 
 
\C		Reaction note, due Nov. 1, 1976
 
\C  			  C.E. 17O
 
\C		     by Mary Rasmussen