In a Finite World, Can We Really Have Infinite Growth?
Question/Comment: Given we live in a finite world, how can economists explain the viability of an economic system which demands infinite growth?
Paul Solman: They’d be hard-pressed, I guess. But not necessarily stumped. I can think of three responses.
1) We can move to other worlds.
2) There’s a virtually infinite amount of free energy in the universe and enough from our nearby sun to keep us going – theoretically, at least – till the cows come home, and then some.
3) You’re right, but we can put off the day of reckoning for a very, very long time by utilizing our resources ever more efficiently.
Don’t know if any of these work for you. But remember, Thomas Malthus raised the same question you do some 200 years. He doesn’t seem to have been right. Thus far.