chapter  7
28 Pages

Compact mathematical models of world-system development: How they can help us to clarify our understanding of globalization processes


In 1960, in the journal Science, von Foerster et al. published a striking discovery. They showed that between ce 1 and 1958, the world’s population (N) dynamics can be described in an extremely accurate way, with an astonishingly simple equation:2

Nt = C t0 − t , (1)

where Nt is the world population at time t, and C and t0 are constants, with t0 corresponding with an absolute limit (“singularity” point) at which N would become infinite.