Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Influence of Thermodynamic Ideas on Ecological Economics: An Interdisciplinary Critique

Contents:

Author Info

  • Geoffrey P. Hammond

    ()
    (Institute for Sustainable Energy & the Environment (I•SEE), University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK)

  • Adrian B. Winnett

    ()
    (Institute for Sustainable Energy & the Environment (I•SEE), University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK
    Department of Economics, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    The 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.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/1/4/1195/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/1/4/1195/
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 1195-1225

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:1195-1225:d:6385

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.mdpi.com/

    Related research

    Keywords: thermodynamic analysis; energy; entropy; exergy; ecological economics; environmental economics; exergoeconomics; complexity; natural capital; sustainability;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    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.:
    as in new window
    1. Sollner, Fritz, 1997. "A reexamination of the role of thermodynamics for environmental economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 175-201, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Malghan, Deepak, 2011. "A dimensionally consistent aggregation framework for biophysical metrics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 900-909, March.
    2. 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.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:1195-1225:d:6385. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.