The Coming Collapse of Global Civilization?
Various informal discussions and other chance experiences of late have stimulated me to write up and post this essay. What follows is a pretty dark vision. I hope there's something serious wrong with my reasoning, but my crystal ball seems to be predicting what amounts to the collapse of our Western, technologically-based civilization and, perhaps, the subsequent collapse of most of the rest of global civilization. I want to discuss the various threads that I see leading to this dire forecast. And I hope that someone can produce a convincing argument that I'm wrong.
2. The Malthusian doomsday
In the later part of the 18th century, Thomas Malthus made the point that ,,,
Put in modern terms, the rate of population increase is roughly proportional to the population itself, ... resulting in a mathematical description of the population as a function of time. It is easily shown that the solution ... is
where No is the population at some arbitrarily chosen
starting point t = to. Exponential growth is what Malthus
referred to as "geometric" increase. This principle of population growth is
well-known and can be used to make projections about the future population of
the Earth, although typically in a more sophisticated form that accounts for
many other factors. No matter how sophisticated this forecasting is, however, it
can't be denied that the world's population is growing in something very much
like an exponential fashion: