REBOUND EFFECT 1)4)
A positive feedback effect of some innovation on a specific process.
For example it frequently happens that a technical progress that helps to produce some commodity at a lesser cost and with a reduced use of energy or raw materials, induces a higher consummation of the product. This leads of course to an increase in uses of energy and raw materials. A well known example in the 19th Century was the enormous increase of steel consumption after the invention of the BESSEMER process. During the 1980s and 90s, we have witnessed the replacement of big frames computers by tens of millions of personal computers. Of course, as a result, the use of all kinds of inputs increases on a global scale. Accordingly, it is in no way certain that technical progress necessarily leads to a better global sustainability (See, for ex., the recent "Stuttgart Charta on Information Society and Sustainability" – Forum Info 2000 Bonn – July 2nd, 1998).
A sociology of the uses of artifacts would be a very needed complement to progresses in technologies in order to reach a better global evaluation of technologies weight in global human ecology.
Rebound effects have also been observed in demography: After great hecatombs through pandemics or war, the birth rate frequently surges and compensates the losses quite quickly. The same effect can be observed for instance in burnt down forests. Rebound effects are thus an obvious feature of complex systems.
In most cases, rebound effects come as a surprise to the observers.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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