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Jevon's Paradox Revisited

Many doomers point to Jevon’s Paradox as proof that efficiency improvements don’t matter, and that we are bound to run into absolute limits and then we’re screwed. Therefore, they ridicule people such as Amory Lovins, who has succeeded in building a framework for improving efficiency and gradually transitioning to renewable energy.

The fallacy in Jevon’s Paradox is that it only holds true if the system is closed, and non-renewable energy sources are considered. Then, of course, money saved through improvements in efficiency translate into more money that goes back into the economy and consumes still more resources, hastening the collapse.

But if renewable energy is considered, energy use and efficiency will grow together and finally reach an equilibrium where all people on the planet are able to have the services they need, and they will be delivered in the most efficient way with the least waste. Can anyone give one good reason why that should not be our goal?


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