Compound or more properly exponential growth is a little non-intuitive. Well. maybe a lot non-intuitive. It applies to far more things than money and interest.
Google’s in-house smart guy, Ray Kurzweil, points out an interesting example of something in the rest of the world. Solar energy. Forbes magazine has described Kurzweil as “the ultimate thinking machine,” so probably we should at least listen to his ideas.
Over the past 30 years solar energy capacity has doubled about every two years and is presently less than 1% of the total of all energy provided. Big deal or not? If you are a linear thinker, not something to notice. If you think exponentially, it is earth shattering.
If the “double every two years” number holds, then we are are growing solar energy capacity by 40% per year. At that rate, in 13.7 years solar capacity will equal all of the generating capacity in the world today. In 15.8 years it will be more than double the present capacity.
That has implications for each of us. Among them:
There are other questions that might be worth answering too:
We live in interesting, even fascinating, times. This is a development that we should all notice and track. It is a potentially disruptive technology.
I wonder how wind turbines will fare?
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact: email@example.com