Resource acquisition, distribution and end-use efficiencies and the growth of industrial society

Jarvis, A. and Jarvis, S. J. and Hewitt, C. N. (2015) Resource acquisition, distribution and end-use efficiencies and the growth of industrial society. Earth System Dynamics, 6. pp. 689-702. ISSN 2190-4979

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Abstract

A key feature of the growth of industrial society is the acquisition of increasing quantities of resources from the environment and their distribution for end use. With respect to energy, growth has been near exponential for the last 160 years. We attempt to show that the global distribution of resources that underpins this growth may be facilitated by the continual development and expansion of near optimal directed networks. If so, the distribution efficiencies of these networks must decline as they expand due to path lengths becoming longer and more tortuous. To maintain long-term exponential growth the physical limits placed on the distribution networks appear to be counteracted by innovations deployed elsewhere in the system: namely at the points of acquisition and end use. We postulate that the maintenance of growth at the specific rate of ~2.4% yr−1 stems from an implicit desire to optimise patterns of energy use over human working lifetimes.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Earth System Dynamics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1900
Subjects:
ID Code:
73400
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 Jun 2015 05:37
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
27 Oct 2020 04:47