Re: poly: Modeling Economic Singularities

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Tue Mar 31 1998 - 13:42:44 PST

I have greatly revised my page on this issue, and it should
hopefully be substantially clearer now.

                Is a singularity just around the corner?
             What it takes to get explosive economic growth

                           by Robin Hanson

Economic growth is determined by the supply and demand of
investment capital; technology determines the demand for capital, while
human nature determines the supply. The supply curve has two distinct parts,
giving the world economy two distinct modes. In the familiar slow growth
mode, rates of return are limited by human discount rates. In the fast
growth mode, investment is limited by the world's wealth. Historical trends
suggest that we may transition to the fast mode in roughly another century
and a half.

Can some new technolgy switch us to the fast mode more quickly
than this? Perhaps, but such a technology must greatly raise the rate of
return for the world's expected worst investment project. It must thus
be very broadly applicable, improving almost all forms of capital and
investment. Furthermore, population growth rates and investment
externalities must remain within certain limits.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Tue Mar 31 21:47:40 1998

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