E coli life cycle model
Do economic activity and work unavoidably lead to doom?
The term 'work' has been used in this model in the sense of economic activity to include not only work done by people but also by machines. The model shows 8 positive feedback loops that reinforce work and the need to work. From the perspective of physics, civilisation can be described as a MACHANISM FOR USING ENERGY AND DOING WORK.
Work, however, has some unavoidable consequences. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that any ‘work’ requires the use of energy and that DOING WORK entails the generation of WASTE HEAT. The laws of physics also tell us that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels will cause global warming. These unintended and unavoidable consequences are highlighted in the model by prominent arrows.
Can the structure of this system be changed to avoid a foreseeable collapse of civilisation?