Future-forming interdisciplinary research

Global Futures: The Future of Growth


The Future of Growth

– Mark Shackleton, Thursday 13th December 2016

Economic activity generates interlinked incomes and expenditures for the parties in a market economy. If these are unbalanced, with one party in surplus and another in deficit, this can be managed by borrowing and lending between the two.  Where one party foregoes a resource in return for a promised future reward, investment can be made if it can sustain the required interest cost.  This monetary activity can advance, or possibly defer, utilisation of physical resources such as fossil fuels and energy resources which the economy demands.  As the energy market matures and transforms, the energy intensity of the economy is changing; does the economy and emissions have to grow together? As well as energy growth, why the pressure on us all to think of economic growth as necessary for borrowing and lending to occur?

Mark’s first degree was in Physics but his career started in banking. Following an MBA, he switched to an academic path by pursuing a PhD in Finance. In his research, Mark works with dynamic models of investment, particularly where following the investment decision itself, other choices or flexibilities are present. To do this, he studies market volatility, financial and operational options.  Rather than view the investment as a monetary return, his interest in energy market investment is to look at the return on energy required to provide (renewable) energy.  Looking at inter-related systems and projects on a cyclical basis is a challenge for investment decision making but one that is particularly important for sustainable investment.  Although he has commented in the UK press on the contentious issue of fracking, he views natural gas as the next transition in a sequence of fuels of decreasing intensity which lead to zero carbon.

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