June 5th

9:00 PM

Today was devoted to a number of tasks. I made some modifications in the page layout to provide space for the new advisory agent, and added the button to process the simulation through a single year. I also added a bunch of new images to the set, and did a little research on basic numbers. Did you know that annual global food production adds up to about 7 petacalories?

Mostly I’m concentrating on getting the factor set complete. That is, I want to have all the factors at work represented before I commit to some other major task. I current have about 60 factors in the set, but I expect this to grow. There are a bunch of input factors: degree of regulatory controls on all the industrial activities, taxes on some of polluting activities, and subsidies for some of the new technologies. There are also a handful of pages presenting the number of points earned for various results. It’s the stuff in between that provides the challenge.

I’ve gotten the energy system in good shape. There are nine different sources of energy: coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, solar photoelectric, solar water heating, wind, hydro, and geothermal. I got the equations for the price-supply-demand set up, but I can’t really test them until I can run the whole simulation.

The food supply system is half-built. I’ve got pesticide use, fertilizer use, and GM crop use as inputs, but I think that I need something more. Mechanization? Tractors? Irrigation? What about distribution systems for the food (much of the food grown in some southern countries rots because the farmers can’t get it to market in time)? Interestingly, cellphones have boosted agricultural activity because farmers are able to get the latest market information. This is especially important for fishermen — but I haven’t yet included fisheries in my food supply system. Fish supply only about 1% of the total caloric supply of food — should they be included in the food supply system? Cereals provide the bulk of the caloric supply — would it be appropriate to treat them as representative of the whole system?

Another nasty problem is the calculation of economic growth, which underlies a lot of other systems. What should feed economic growth? Industrial production, obviously. Technology is an easy addition, but how is technological progress measured? In patents? And what about the role of capital formation? That’s crucial, but I can’t factor that in without dragging in lots of nasty economics. Better to treat capital formation as a constant. Perhaps I should have a single factor for “Research” which requires money as input and contributes to a lot of other stuff, such as advances in energy technologies as well as agricultural output.

So many factors to juggle...