The Influence of Thermodynamic Ideas on Ecological Economics: An Interdisciplinary Critique
AbstractThe influence of thermodynamics on the emerging transdisciplinary field of 'ecological economics‘ is critically reviewed from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is viewed through the lens provided by the 'bioeconomist' Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1906–1994) and his advocacy of 'the Entropy Law' as a determinant of economic scarcity. It is argued that exergy is a more easily understood thermodynamic property than is entropy to represent irreversibilities in complex systems, and that the behaviour of energy and matter are not equally mirrored by thermodynamic laws. Thermodynamic insights as typically employed in ecological economics are simply analogues or metaphors of reality. They should therefore be empirically tested against the real world.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.
Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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thermodynamic analysis; energy; entropy; exergy; ecological economics; environmental economics; exergoeconomics; complexity; natural capital; sustainability;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
- Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
- Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
- Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
- Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
- Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
- O13 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sollner, Fritz, 1997. "A reexamination of the role of thermodynamics for environmental economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 175-201, September.
- Malghan, Deepak, 2011. "A dimensionally consistent aggregation framework for biophysical metrics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 900-909, March.
- Lucia, Umberto & Sciubba, Enrico, 2013. "From Lotka to the entropy generation approach," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(17), pages 3634-3639.
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