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37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Founded on an Exponential Fallacy, March 19, 2012
This review is from: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (Hardcover)
This author's Abundance thesis depends entirely on geometric, or exponential, growth - as illustrated in his graphical Reference 80 (on page 292) where such growth is seen to arrive exponentially from a cascade of S-curves. But it is very well established that S-curves, which are the dominant feature of technology growth, are actually composed of a sequence of interrupted exponential segments having diminishing growth rates as time progresses, a complete inversion of origin compared to what these authors claim.

They may have fallen into this trap by virtue of being enthralled by Moore's Law. Unfortunately Moore's Law applies to an engineering parameter of what economists call 'intermediate goods'. What the authors needed to consider more carefully is the diffusion of final goods - and that's quite a different proposition, and much slower. It is behind the critique provided by Rob Atkinson during Tom Ashbrook's WBUR radio On Point review 'Will Innovation Save Us - 02/29/12' with author Peter Diamandis.

And a clue to the poor scholarship of Abundance occurs very early, at the beginning of Chapter One (page 3) in 'The Lesson of Aluminum'. Whether it is true or not that the ancients knew how to extract aluminum is less important than that these authors, in view of what it has actually taken in modern times to extract aluminum, consider the claim unremarkable. I was incredulous and you should be too. But the authors accept it without citation.

We need optimism, but it needs to have a better basis than this.
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