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Here is a graph of Greece's real GDP per capita. I was hoping to show that, despite the drop off near the end, it's still clearly generally increasing exponentially. But if you click that button to switch between linear scale and log scale, it's actually closer to a linear increase.

Out of curiousity I also looked at USA's real GDP per capita, which seems to be approximated very well by both linear and exponential increases, and the graph for the entire world, which is clearly linear. Extrapolating from that, the world GDP was zero in 1945. If you just look at the total, then it's about as close to linear and exponential.

Weird.






Thanks for the links.

GDP certainly can increase exponentially, but it does not always do so. In fact, for the most of the human history it did not. Basically, GDP equals economically productive population times average productivity times the employment level. In the XXth century many countries experienced exponential growth of economically productive population with simultaneously rising productivity. This produced an exponential growth of GDP. These days in almost all Western countries the economically productive population is stable or declining, while the average productivity is pretty stagnant. Massive government stimulus can increase consumer spending and thus prevent employment levels from falling but this does not lead to an exponential growth of GDP. Therefore eventually the ratio of public debt to GDP will reach an unsustainable level resulting in government bankruptcy.

In Japan where fertility dropped earlier than in the west, the exponential growth of GDP ended 25 years ago. Other developed countries are catching up now.
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melian
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