The Exponential Function or Do We Need Growth in the Industry

As a mathematician, I have to tell you about the exponential function. We’ll, if you can’t really start with this information or if you don’t like maths, I’m going to explain it in an easy manner. Everything which grows exponentially will double at some point of time. At that point we have more of it than ever before. If something grows with 1% per year, it will double in about 70 years, if it grows with 2% it will double in about 35 years and so on. Imagine that we have one bacterium and this bacterium splits up every one minute. Thus one minute later will have 2 bacteria, 2 minutes later – 4 bacteria, 3 minutes later – 8 bacteria and so on. After 60 minutes will have two to the power of 60 bacteria. Can you imagine what kind of number is this? It is bigger than 1 000 000 000 000 000 000. There are even not so much rice seeds in the world.

What is more interesting – after 59 minutes we have only 50% of the bacteria that we have after 60 minutes and after 58 – 25%, after 57 – only 12,5%, after 56 – only about 6% and after 55 minutes only about 3% of the bacteria. If we are in the 55 minute, we can hardly imagine what we’ll happen only some minutes later. The growth is going on so fast, so that we can hardly react and stop it. This can happen with the climate change, with the population growth on earth and so on. Such a growth can be a dangerous process.

Most systems in the nature are not growing exponentially. First they grow fast and at some point they start to grow very slowly till they arrive at some almost steady state. Simple example is the growth of a child. The babies grow quite fast, small children less fast and teenagers even slower. And adults do not grow any more or grow only a little under certain circumstances.

As you can see, if our industry keeps growing exponentially like this, we’ll arrive at a certain point where it will collapse. All of the crises till now are more or less such small crashes. A sustainable development sustains at some point. We need growth, but only at some phases and not constantly. If you have your own business it is very important to know, that you always need sustaining phases. These are phases at which the system is developing in quality and not only in quantity. If you only constantly grow you’ll arrive at a point where you can’t manage your business any more.

If you are further interested, please check this video. It is definitely going to change your way of thinking.