Ponzi“Environmental despoliation may … be conceived as kind of global Ponzi scheme, the early investors doing well, the later ones losing everything.” [1]

This is a hypothesis that can be verified in the working mechanism of our societies, of our civilization, as we have discussed before. A Ponzi scheme is a type of fraudulent investment strategy where fraudsters promise very high returns, using money from new recruits to the scheme to pay off early-stage investors until the scheme gets so big that the inflow of new money is insufficient. Then, the all scheme collapses and tragedy is released in the news every day, terror, wars, and the like, appropriately arranged to “erase”, to appropriately turn away and confuse the attention of citizens to what is the real substratum of the “civilizational” working mechanism, like in our unfortunate times.

The agents of the fraud are: i) “intermediaries who are reckless and negligent, rather than dishonest, and who guide investors towards the scheme; ii) beneficiaries are either well-informed and dishonest (the scheme promoters), wilfully and negligently ill-informed (intermediaries), or ill-informed but fortunate (investors who withdraw their funds before the collapse). The victims, those left with worthless investments, are both ill-informed and unlucky.” [2]

«The fraud inherent in a Ponzi scheme lies in the victims’ deprivation of an entitlement that they had been promised. » [2]

Half the world, including almost all the developed world, now is reproducing at below replacement level. A generation from now, according to United Nations Population Division projections, less than a quarter of the world’s women – most of them in Africa and South Asia – will be reproducing at above replacement rate. And those UN forecasts are probably on the high side, for reasons we’ll come to later.

«And as the birth rate has plunged in developed nations, and the native-born population has begun to shrink and rapidly age, governments and business have sought to make up the numbers by importing people to prop up their economies. It’s all they know how to do, for our economic system is, at its base, a giant Ponzi scheme, dependent on ever more people producing and consuming ever more stuff.

But what happens if that all stops? What happens when you get an ageing, shrinking population that consumes less?

“The answer to that question is that we don’t know because it’s never happened before,” says Peter McDonald, professor of demography and director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University.» [3]



[1] Paulos, J.A. (1996). A Mathematician Reads The Newspaper. Penguin.

[2] Shobhana Madhavan and Robert Barrass, 4.1 | 2011 : Vol.4 / n°1, Perspectives, Unsustainable Development: Could it be a Ponzi Scheme?” Link here

[3] http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/is-the-entire-economy-a-ponzi-scheme.html