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A Bat Sneezed and the Economy Collapsed

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

A Bat Sneezed and the Economy Collapsed (2021)
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Idea in Brief:

  • The second industrial revolution (Mass, Lean, and "Bottom-Lines") created unprecedented growth in humanity a century ago, but this growth has reached limits, and creates a global systemic risk.

  • The human population footprint expanded into the former wilderness, where viral reservoirs thrive in rodents, birds, and bats. COVID-19 is the fifth pandemic of the 21st century, and we can expect more to follow.

  • Societal growth now requires new technologies and new management theory, as envisioned in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Supply chains must be local, visible, automated, and leverage Digital Factory Twins. And economic metrics must balance People and the Planet, as well as Prosperity.

These lectures discuss Systems Thinking concepts: Reinforcing and Balancing Loops, Limits to Growth and Shifting the Burden models.

Conclusion: Tragedy of the Commons and some some thoughts for the future.

Additional Reading:


I learn so much from students! 😁 Many thanks to John W, who pointed class towards this video (not mine). Discusses the rise of mass production, Milton Friedman's shareholder capitalism, Deng Xiaoping and China's Second Revolution, and finally climate change and shareholder capitalism. Thanks John!


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