Acolytes of neo-Malthusian Apocalypticism
Foresight Institute - May 8th, 2009
When I was in college 35 years ago, there was a major fad of neo-Malthusian doom-mongering, led by the “Limits to Growth” book and movement. A retreat was organized from the college, and some concerned, environmentally conscious professors and students, myself included, went off for a concentrated seminar in which we educated each other about all the models and dire predictions of the coming collapse.
My roomate became especially concerned, and got hold of the “World Dynamics” modelling system and language (”DYNAMO”) and the Club of Rome model and ran it on Drew University’s IBM 1130 computer.
Our 1130 had less processing power than a modern calculator watch and a grand total of 16,234 bytes of memory. It chugged through this simulation of all the Earth’s economy, resource extraction, technological development, and ecological impacts in just a few minutes, and spat out the graphs telling us we were all doomed.