Límits al creixement

Malthus, Thomas

thomas_robert_malthus(Dorking, 1766 – Bath, 1834) Economista i demògraf anglès conegut principalment per les seves teories pessimistes, com la Catàstrofe malthusiana però altament influents, pel que fa a l’evolució de la població mundial. Les seves prediccions es basaven en la idea que la població creix en progressió geomètrica (un ritme d’1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc.) mentre que els recursos alimentaris ho fan en progressió aritmètica (un ritme d’1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.). D’acord amb això, Malthus considerava que arribaria un moment en què la població no trobaria recursos suficients per a subsistir, ja que aquests, a més a més, són limitats raó per la qual, quan s’haguessin esgotat, la vida humana desapareixeria (catàstrofe malthusiana). Segons Malthus aquesta tendència només es podia evitar si confluïen dues circumstàncies:

  • D’una banda que les taxes de mortalitat, que històricament i per aquell temps eren molt altes, no invertissin la tendència i continuessin sent altes. A això hi podien contribuir molts factors com ara la perpetuació de la misèria entre les classes populars, les elevades taxes de mortalitat infantil, les guerres, les epidèmies que periòdicament assotaven la població…
  • De l’altra, que les taxes de natalitat experimentessin un sobtat descens fruit de la contracepció i de la contenció moral amb la consegüent abstinència.

Malthus considerava que aquestes mesures correctores havien de recaure exclusivament en la població pobra per dues raons: perquè aplegava la immensa majoria de la població total i perquè era la responsable de l’excés demogràfic en ser la que engendrava més fills. El resultat de tot plegat fou que la legislació inspirada per les teories malthusianes degradà, encara més, les ja migrades condicions de vida dels pobres d’Anglaterra.

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BIBLIOGRAFIA RELLEVANT:

  • Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)

Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas

georgescu_roegen(1906 – 1994) Was a Romanian American mathematician, statistician and economist. He is best known today for his 1971 magnum opus The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, where he argued that all natural resources are irreversibly degraded when put to use in economic activity. A paradigm founder in economics, Georgescu-Roegen’s work was seminal in establishing ecological economics as an independent academic subdiscipline in economics.

In the history of economic thought, Georgescu-Roegen was the first economist of some standing to theorise on the premise that all of Earth’s mineral resources will eventually be exhausted at some point. In his magnum opus, Georgescu-Roegen argues that economic scarcity is rooted in physical reality; that all natural resources are irreversibly degraded when put to use in economic activity; that the carrying capacity of Earth — that is, Earth’s capacity to sustain human populations and consumption levels — is bound to decrease sometime in the future as Earth’s finite stock of mineral resources is presently being extracted and put to use; and consequently, that the world economy as a whole is heading towards an inevitable future collapse. Due to the pessimism inherent in his work, based on the physical concept of entropy, the theoretical position of Georgescu-Roegen and his followers was later termed ‘entropy pessimism’ by one of his peers.

“My philosophy is in spirit Machian: it is … mainly [concerned] with the problem of valid analytical representations of the relations among facts.” Eminent Economists: Their Life Philosophies

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BIBLIOGRAFIA RELLEVANT:

  • Energy and Economic Myths: Institutional and Analytical Economic Essays (1976)
  • The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971)

Meadows, Dennis

medows(Born June 1942) Is an American scientist and Emeritus Professor of Systems Management, and former director of the Institute for Policy and Social Science Research at the University of New Hampshire. He is President of the Laboratory for Interactive Learning and widely known as the co-author of The Limits to Growth.

The Club of Rome is a global think tank that deals with a variety of international political issues. It raised considerable public attention in 1972 with its report The Limits to Growth. From 1970 to 1972 at MIT Meadows was director of the “Club of Rome Project on Predicament of mankind at MIT” which constructed the world model underlying that publication. The Limits to Growth is a 1972 book modeling the consequences of a rapidly growing world population and finite resource supplies, commissioned by the Club of Rome.

The book used the World3 model to simulate the consequence of interactions between the Earth’s and human systems. The eventual purpose of The Limits to Growth was not to make specific predictions, but to explore how exponential growth interacts with finite resources. Because the size of resources is not known, only the general behavior can be explored.

In their 1972 publication Limits to Growth their recommendations were focused on “how to slow growth”. In the 2004 Limits to growth: the 30-year update the message has changed. Meadows explained: “Now we must tell people how to manage an orderly reduction of their activities back down below the limits of the earth’s resources..”

In 2014, research at the University of Melbourne confirmed that the predictions from the book Limits to Growth were largely correct.

“In 1972 it was inconceivable to most people that the physical impact of humanity’s activities could ever grow large enough to alter basic natural processes of the globe. But now we routinely observe, acknowledge, and discuss the ozone hole, destruction of marine fisheries, climate change and other global problems.” Interview Meadows in 2004

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BIBLIOGRAFIA RELLEVANT:

  • Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (2004)
  • The Systems Thinking Playbook (1995)
  • Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future (1992)
  • Dynamics of Growth in a Finite World (1974)
  • Beyond growth: essays on alternative futures. (1975)
  • Toward global equilibrium: collected papers. Eds. (1973)
  • The Limits to Growth (1972)
  • Dynamics of commodity production cycles (1970)

Latouche, Serge

(Nacido en enero de 1940) Es un economista francés célebre ideólogo y partidario del decrecimiento. En el ámbito de las ciencias sociales, Latouche ha desarrollado una crítica a la ortodoxia económica productivista capitalista, el economicismo y el utilitarismo relacionados con las nociones de desarrollo y progreso. Critica asimismo el desarrollo sostenible, que considera simultáneamente oxímoron y pleonasmo.

Muchos son los economistas que se han hecho eco del pensamiento de Georgescu-Roegen (creador de la teoría del decrecimiento) como Paul Ariès o Jean Paul Vesse, pero el que realmente ha logrado dar a conocer a la sociedad actual esta teoría ha sido el francés Serge Latouche.

Para Latouche, el decrecimiento no es un concepto, es un simple eslogan mediático creado para escandalizar, para crear impacto. La situación en la que está el planeta es muy preocupante, y el objetivo no es tomar medidas para ir reduciendo el consumo a largo plazo, sino buscar una solución ya, puesto que el problema ya está entre nosotros.

El economista dice que ante este panorama, nadie hace nada, principalmente los que ostentan el poder. A día de hoy, el crecimiento sólo es rentable si su peso y precio recaen sobre la naturaleza, las generaciones futuras, las condiciones de trabajo de los asalariados y, de forma especial, sobre los países del Sur.

Serge Latouche propone un sistema de soluciones bajo el prefijo “re-”, que ha nombrado como los pilares del decrecimiento o el modelo de las “8 R”: Revaluar, Reconceptualizar, Reestructurar, Relocalizar, Redistribuir, Reducir, Reutilizar y Reciclar.

“La consigna del decrecimiento tiene como meta, sobre todo, insistir fuertemente en abandonar el objetivo del crecimiento por el crecimiento, […] En todo rigor, convendría más hablar de “acrecimiento”, tal como hablamos de “ateísmo”

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BIBLIOGRAFIA RELLEVANT:

  • Límite (2014)
  • Hecho De Tirar. La Irracionalidad De La Obsolescencia Programada (2014)
  • Salir de la sociedad de consumo: Voces y vías del decrecimiento (2012)
  • ¿Hacia dónde va el mundo?: 2012-2022: La última oportunidad (2012)
  • La sociedad de la abundancia frugal: Contrasentidos y controversias del decrecimiento (2012)
  • En defensa del decreixement (2011)
  • La hora del decrecimiento (2011)
  • Pequeño tratado del decrecimiento sereno (2009)
  • La apuesta por el decrecimiento: ¿Cómo salir del imaginario dominante? (2008)

Lovelock, James

(Born July 1919) He is an independent scientist, environmentalist and futurologist who lives in Devon, England. He is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling the chemical and physical environment.

Lovelock has made distinguished contributions to several diverse fields, including a study of the transmission of respiratory infection, and methods of air sterilisation; the role of Ca and other divalent ions in blood clotting; damage to various living cells by freezing, thawing and thermal shock and its prevention by the presence of neutral solutes; methods of freezing and thawing small live animals; methods for preparing sperm for artificial insemination, which have been of major economic importance.

He has invented a family of ionisation detectors for gas chromatography. His electron capture detectors are the most sensitive that has been made and are universally used on pollution problems for residual halogen compounds. He has many inventions, including a gas chromatograph, which will be used to investigate planetary atmospheres. His chromatographic work has led to investigation of blood lipids in various animals, including arteriosclerotic humans. He has made a study of detecting life on other planets by analysis of their atmosphere and extended this to world pollution problems. His work generally shows remarkable originality, simplicity and ingenuity

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James Lovelock website

BIBLIOGRAFIA RELLEVANT:

  • The Revenge of GAIA: Why the earth is frighting back and how we can still save humanity (2006)
  • Homage to GAIA – The Life of an Independent Scientist (2000)
  • The Ages of GAIA: A biography of our living earth (1988)
  • GAIA – A New Look at Life on Earth (1979)