The Science of Doom: Modeling the Future

  • Ugo BardiEmail author


This chapter discusses how the models used to understand the future are built, what they are for, what they tell us, and what their limits are in warning us about collapses to come. It includes a section on why people tend to disbelieve models that predict collapse.


  1. 1.
    Wack, P.: Scenarios: uncharted waters ahead. Harv. Bus. Rev. Last accessed, Aug 31, 2019 (1985)
  2. 2.
    Ruppert, M.C.: Crossing the Rubicon: the decline of the American empire at the end of the age of oil. New Society Publishers (2004)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Musa, G.: Terrestrizzazione. In: Musa, G., Cremaschi, I. (eds.) I Labirinti del Terzo Pianeta. Nuova Accademia Editrice (1964)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Forrester, J.W.: Counterintuitive behavior of social systems. Simulation 16, 61–76 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Shields, L.B.E., Hunsaker, J.C., Stewart, D.M.: Russian roulette and risk-taking behavior. Am. J. Forensic Med. Pathol. 29, 32–39 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ellemberg, J.: How the financial markets fell for the martingale, a 400-year-old sucker bet. Slate. Available at Accessed 2 Sept 2016 (2008)
  7. 7.
    Phillips, D., Welty, W., Smith, M.: Elevated suicide levels associated with legalized gambling. Suicide Life-Threat. Behav. 27, 373–378 (1997)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tversky, A., Kahneman, D.: Belief in the law of small numbers. Psychol. Bull. 76, 105–110 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J., Bherens III, W.: The Limits to Growth. Universe Books (1972)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Nordhaus, W.D.: World dynamics: measurement without data. Econ. J. 83, 1156–1183 (1973)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Forrester, J.: World Dynamics. Wright-Allen Press (1971)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bardi, U.: The Limits to Growth Revisited. Springer (2011)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nordhaus, W.: Lethal Models. Brookings Pap. Econ. Act. 2, 1–59 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Solow, R.: Technical change and the aggregate production function. Q. J. Econ. 70, 65–94 (1956)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Turner, G.: A comparison of the limits to growth with 30 years of reality. Glob. Environ. Chang. 18, 397–411 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zetetic Method: Rational theoretical standard wiki. Available at Accessed 22 Mar 2019
  17. 17.
    Letzer, R.: One conspiracy theory at a time: flat-earthers don’t reject climate science. LiveScience. Available at Accessed 18 Apr 2019 (2018)
  18. 18.
    Arrhenius, S.: On the influence of carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature of the ground. Philos. Mag. J. Sci. (fifth Ser.) 41, 237–275 (1896)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bardi, U. Where is the proof that CO2 warms the Earth? Cassandra’s Legacy. Available at Accessed 21 Mar 2019 (2018)
  20. 20.
    Makarieva, A.M., Gorshkov, V.G., Li, B.-L.: Precipitation on land versus distance from the ocean: evidence for a forest pump of atmospheric moisture. Ecol. Complex. 6, 302–307 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Deshmukh, S., Murthy, J.: Nightfall: Can Kalgash Exist, arXiv:1407.4895 (2014)
  22. 22.
    Laskar, J., Gastineau, M.: Existence of collisional trajectories of Mercury, Mars and Venus with the Earth. Nature 459, 817–819 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Palyulin, V.V., Chechkin, A.V., Metzler, R.: Levy flights do not always optimize random blind search for sparse targets. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 111, 2931–2936 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zagorsky, J.L.: Economics Bulletin, 36(1), 401–410 (2016)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Saltelli, A.: Sensitivity analysis for importance assessment. Risk Anal. 22, 579–590 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Papert, S.: Mindstorms: Computers, Children, and Powerful Ideas. Basic Books, NY (1980)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Taleb, N.: The Black Swan. Random House (2007)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Gladwell, M.: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference: Malcolm. Back Bay Books (2002)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sornette, D., Ouillon, G.: Dragon-kings: mechanisms, statistical methods and empirical evidence. Eur. Phys. J. 205, 1–26 (2012)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hansen, J.: Climate catastrophe. New Sci. 195, 30–34 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Goldblatt, C., Watson, A.J.: The runaway greenhouse: implications for future climate change, geoengineering and planetary atmospheres. Philos. Trans. A. Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 370, 4197–4216 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Antilla, L.: Self-censorship and science: a geographical review of media coverage of climate tipping points. Public Underst. Sci. 19, 240–256 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Tversky, A., Kahneman, D.: Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases. Science 185, 1124–1131 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Asch, S.E.: Opinions and social pressure. Sci. Am. 193, 31–35 (1955)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Hamilton, L.C., Haedrich, R.L., Duncan, C.M.: Above and below the water: social/ecological transformation in Northwest Newfoundland. Popul. Environ. 25, 195–215 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations