Pestel Eduard

PESTEL, Eduard (b. May 29, 1914, Hildesheim, Germany; d. November 19, 1988, Hanover) – German scientist, statesman, politician and public figure, one of the principal founders of the Club of Rome (1968).

From 1956 Pestel was Professor of Mechanics at the Technical University of Hanover, from 1966 nato Economic Committee delegate, then a member of  the Board of Trustees of the Volkswagen Foundation, and Vice-President of the Central German Association for Research (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).

In 1975 he founded the Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Forecast (isp) in Hanover (now the Institute for System Studies of Eduard Pestel).

In 1977–81 he was Minister of Science and Arts of Lower Saxony. In 1982 he revived the Technical Society named after Albert Einstein (he was President of this organization to the end of his life).

He founded the Institute of Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering Faculty of the Technical University of Haifa (Technion), both of which are also named after him. In 1972, together with Jay Forrester and Donella Meadows, he developed “World Models” at mit, as well as the world’s first computer model that simulates the dynamic system of the population and the economy.

In 1974, under the direction of Pestel and Mihajlo Mesarovic, the report “Mankind at the Turning Point” was presented to the Club of Rome. This not only described the global situation, but attempted to offer effective tools for solving specific issues.

The authors put forward the concept of “organic growth,” according to which each region of the world should perform its specific function, like the cell of a living organism.

The world was divided into regions, and the study described ten subregions, using a variety of information and complex procedures. The concept of “organic growth” proved to be quite attractive and, despite criticism, has received considerable attention. The report gave a powerful impetus to works in the field of global modeling, which unfolded during the 1970s.

In 1987 Pestel published a report for the Club of Rome entitled Beyond the Limits to Growth.” This was not a traditional presentation, aimed at solving a particular issue. It was written in the form of a reflection on the evolution of theoretical and practical activities at the Club of Rome during the fifteen years since the publication of the first, and most sensational report, “Limits to Growth.” It was dedicated to the memory of Aurelio Peccei, founder and first president of the Club of Rome.

According to Pestel, the publication of “Limits to Growth” was very useful because it drew the attention of millions of people to “the world’s issues,” forcing them to face the dangers and to recognize the need for radical revision of values because of material interests. In his new report Pestel focused on finding “practical ways to secure development policy.”

The main role in this development was given to new technologies. In “Limits to Growth” various global issues are elaborated upon, and generalizations are made about scientific and technological progress and its social consequences.

Works: Matrix Methods in Elastomechanics (Columbus, oh, 1963); Dynamics (Columbus, oh, 1968); Beyond the Limits to growth (Rome, 1989).