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During the 40 years that have passed since the publication of The Limits to Growth, the concept of degrowth and system dynamics have sometimes developed separately. There is now increasing evidence supporting the conclusions of The Limits to Growth and degrowth is a concept being discussed both in the academic and public debate. There is a need to look at potential ways to adapt to the limits of our world system. In this study, degrowth pathways are explored by the use of causal loop diagrams and system dynamics simulation models. Departing from a study of degrowth pathways and the Limits to Growth’s World3 model, the potential effectiveness of degrowth pathways are explored. The conclusions are that degrowth proposals have a large potential impact when looking at the feedbacks and relations in the causal loop diagrams, but that this does not show in the simulated behavior of our modified World3 model. It is possible that this depends more on the structure of the World3 model than on the effectiveness of the proposals introduced. System dynamics is a truly holistic and transdisciplinary methodology and modeling tool, and as such it can play an important role in the process of bringing together knowledge, perspectives, and concepts relevant to degrowth. Hence, we believe that there is a need for new system dynamics world models to fully explore the potential of degrowth and the transformation to a sustainable society.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Exploring Degrowth Pathways Using System Dynamics“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.