Fifty years after the publication of Limits to Growth (LtG), its scenarios predicting a global socioeconomic collapse are still relevant. In this study, we extract the key components and processes from the Limits to Growth (LtG) narratives to construct a simple qualitative model. Our modeling framework enables the computation of all possible system trajectories (scenarios) within a single output, once the model accepted. By retracing all scenarios presented in LtG, our model uncovers highly interconnected trajectories leading to either sustainability or collapse. The simplicity of our approach allows focusing on 13 variables and 40 qualitative rules only. Through this work, we demonstrate that the co-authors of LtG successfully tackled the challenge of exhaustively representing all conceivable trajectories for the global system, grounded in their core assumptions. Furthermore, our study paves the way for exploring alternative scenarios by applying this comprehensive yet straightforward framework to newly acquired knowledge.
Revisiting Limits to Growth: A simple qualitative model unveils most global system trajectories
11 September 2023