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Why Stock Markets CrashCritical Events in Complex Financial Systems$
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Didier Sornette

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691175959

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691175959.001.0001

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2050: The End of the Growth Era?

2050: The End of the Growth Era?

(p.355) Chapter 10 2050: The End of the Growth Era?
Why Stock Markets Crash

Didier Sornette

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines stock market crashes in the entire financial history of the United States as well as the world economy and population dynamics over the last 2,000 years. It suggests the existence of strong positive feedbacks that point to an underlying finite-time singularity around 2050, signaling a fundamental change of regime of the world economy and population around 2050 (a super crash?). Three leading scenarios are described: collapse, transition to sustainability, and superhumans. After analyzing financial as well as economic and population times series over the longest time scales for which reliable data is available, the chapter considers the pessimistic viewpoint of “natural” scientists vs. the optimistic viewpoint of “social” scientists regarding human population size and growth. It also discusses the faster-than-exponential growth of population, GDP, and financial indices before concluding with an overview of the increasing propensity to emulate the stock market approach.

Keywords:   stock market crash, world economy, population dynamics, positive feedback, finite-time singularity, collapse, sustainability, superhumans, natural scientists, social scientists

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