Why The Economy Can’t Grow

Exponential Growth

I have a magic drop of water. It is magic because it doubles in volume every one minute.

I have a container that is one mile high and as big around as multiple football stadiums. At the top of this container is a cage; its top is flush with the top of the container. There is a control panel in the cage that allows one to set a time for the floor of the cage to give way, thus spilling anything in the cage into whatever waits below in the container. The control panel takes five minutes to adjust each time it is reprogrammed.

I will put a single drop of my magic water in the empty container at 12:00:00 PM and set an alarm to go off when the container is 0.01% full.

Now imagine I put you in this cage and you wait and wait and wait and finally the 0.01% alarm goes off at 1:00:00 PM.

  1. At what time will the container be 100% full?
  2. How long do you have to calculate the time that you should input into the control panel once the alarm goes off?


















  1. At 1:13:18 PM the tank will be 100% full.
  2. You have 8 Minutes and 18 Seconds to figure it out and set the control panel.