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What Is Perpetual Growth?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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Perpetual growth is a somewhat abstract concept that idealizes unending growth in all aspects, including areas like the economy and human population, due to the belief that such eternal growth is something to be desired. The reason for this desire can be attributed to the belief that the growth in population is commensurate with growth in the economy due to the fact that the greater the population, the more active the economy will be. A perpetual growth in the population will lead to a perpetual growth in the economy in terms of demand for products by members of the community, leading to greater output and greater consumption with the desired effect on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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When the population of a nation grows, the notion under perpetual growth is that these people need to consume resources in order to survive and thrive. This means is that a steady growth in the population size will lead to a situation whereby the economy can always depend on demand from the members of the community in order to sustain the growing population. Such people will require diapers, baby cribs, food, shelter, services and other forms of consumables in other to live comfortably. This demand for products and services also encourages and sustains a perpetual growth in the economy due to the fact that producers and manufacturers will strive to keep up with the demand, leading to greater employment, greater activity on the market, and the corresponding growth in the economy. The assumption here is that population growth is parallel to economic growth, even though some examples from nations that are basically overpopulated have not necessarily shown a corresponding level of economic growth in proportion to the population growth.

The fallacy of perpetual growth lies in the assumption that such a growth is sustainable, especially when there is no sort of check or measure with which to establish the right percentage of growth over a stated period that will produce the desired effects. Apart from this lack of measure, uncontrolled growth has more than its share of negative effects in terms of the pressure a spiraling growth exerts on the limited quantity of resources on the planet. A perpetual growth in population means that there must be an available and perpetual source of resources to sustain the growth when nothing could be further from the truth. This is due to the fact that most of the resources on earth are not inexhaustible and will run out if a perpetual growth is maintained — for instance, land.

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