Understanding Exponential Growth


Here’s a foundational understanding of exponential growth from Chris Martenson’s Crash Course. With this understanding, I will be adding other posts on alarming exponential growth charts relating to the current global financial crisis. Hopefully, it will cause us to seek to understand how and why the global economic situation has reached such a precarious stage today.

Form Chris Martenson’s Crash Course:

The critical take-away for exponential functions, the one thing I want you to recall, relates to the concept of “speeding up.”

You can think of the key feature of exponential growth either as the AMOUNT that is added growing larger over each additional unit of time, or you can think of it as the TIME shrinking between each additional unit of amount added. Either way, the theme is “speeding up.”

To illustrate this using population: If we started with 1 million people and set the growth rate to a measly 1% per year, we’d find that it would take 694 years before we achieved a billion people. But we’d be at 2 billion people after only 100 more years, while the third billion would require just 41 more years. Then 29 years, then 22, and then finally only 18 years to add another, to bring us to 6 billion people. That is, each additional billion people took a shorter and shorter amount of time to achieve. Here we can see the theme of speeding up.


5 thoughts on “Understanding Exponential Growth

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