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# Why is exponential growth seen as a bad thing?

Updated: 9/15/2023

Wiki User

15y ago

Exponential growth is not nescecarily a bad thing - it much depends on what is exponentially growing. A common formula for exponential growth is: a * b^x b is you initial value, a is the factor and x is the amount of times you must multiply a with itself. A common example of 'bad' exponential growth is growth of bacteria or spread of flu. Let's assume you have a collony of 1000.000 bacteria (estimated). You have studied them and found that they effectively double their numbers every hour. b would be 1000.000. a would be 2 and x would be the amount of hours after the experiment was started (+1 because 1 would equal the time the experiment was started). The formula is then: 1.000.000*2^x When you come back after an hour, their numbers would then be 2.000.000. 2 hours after the experiment was started, their numbers would be 4.000.000 and 3 hours after it was started there would be 8.000.000. That's an example of bad exponential growth. The same can be done with flu infections. You know there are 1.000 infected people and as you don't know where any of them are, you can estimate that they'll (on average) infect 3 people every day. So the formula is 1.000*3^x where x is the number of days After 1 day there would be 3000 infected. after 2 days there would be 9.000 and after 3 days 27.000 would be infected. It's a good thing that in reality, these models are flawed. Other factors would count also and make the growth stop itself at some point - for example the bacteria would die when they ran out of food and the infected people would get well and stop infecting others after a few days. I hope this was the answer you were looking for, if not then please specify it more.

Wiki User

15y ago