Limits to Growth

Growth in a constrained environment is very common, so common that systems thinkers call it the "limits-to-growth" archetype. Whenever we see a growing entity, whether it be a population, a corporation, a bank account, a rumor, an epidemic, or sales of a new product, we look for the reinforcing loops that are driving it and for the balancing loops that ultimately will constrain it. We know those balancing loops are there, even if they are not yet dominating the system's behavior, because no real physical system can grow forever. Even a hot new product will saturate the market eventually. A chain reaction in a nuclear power plant or bomb will run out of fuel. A virus will run out of susceptible people to infect. An economy may be constrained by physical capital or monetary capital or labor or markets or management or resources or pollution.

About Me

Developer at Brown University Library specializing in instructional design and technology, Python-based data science, and XML-driven web development.