MIT’s study on social collapse: too soon to tell


Last week there was a flurry of articles citing MIT’s 1972 study on social collapse. The key graph from the study repeated by the articles is:

What those lazy journalists didn’t tell you is that there were four scenarios predicted in the study

In two, the model predicts a collapse in industrial production and food, a giant famine, and a drop in population. In the third model, some yet-invented technology saves the day and 2040 is just fine. And in the fourth scenario, we take action to fix these issue and again, all is well.

As described in more detail in My take on the study from MIT that predicts “societal collapse, these four scenarios are just about equal in all measures in 2020. Thus if you believe the models are correct and predictive of the next 20 years, nothing from 1972 until today tells you which of the four scenarios is likely to occur.

Basically, these “smart people from MIT” back in 1972 predicted that there is a chance society will collapse by 2040, but we just won’t know until the 2020s at the soonest and 2030s at the latest.

That doesn’t mean this analysis doesn’t teach us anything, but what we clearly learn here in 2021 is that clickbait titles drive clicks, especially when it is about the end of the world.

By "Luni"


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