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Analogies in Environmental and Economic Systems: Growth curve and models

Last modified: 2017-11-16


The transition from the actual economy to one that is based on the principles of sustainable development is largely promoted through national and international programmes and policies. One aspect of the economy is the growth models, but these models are present both in economic systems and in environmental systems. For a faster and more efficient implementation of these new policies, an interdisciplinary understanding of concepts and processes from both systems is useful, so the purpose of this paper is an analogy between an economic growth model (the Solow-Swan model) and a growth curve from the environmental area, respectively, the bacterial growth curve. Comparing some mathematical and graphical aspects of the two systems, a series of similarities can be observed, and some indications regarding the perspectives and possibilities for establishing new economic growth models adapted to the principles of a circular economy can be made. An economic model able to adapt and change in order to maintain a balance between resources and residues is, from the perspective of this comparison, a model that can sustain long-term economic growth.



growth models, Solow-Swan, circular economy, bacterial growth, Monod


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