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Rethinking Economic Growth Theory From a Biophysical Perspective

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  • Fix, Blair

Abstract

Neoclassical growth theory is the dominant perspective for explaining economic growth. At its core are four implicit assumptions: 1) economic output can become decoupled from energy consumption; 2) economic distribution is unrelated to growth; 3) large institutions are not important for growth; and 4) labor force structure is not important for growth. Drawing on a wide range of data from the economic history of the United States, this book tests the validity of these assumptions and finds no empirical support. Instead, connections are found between the growth in energy consumption and such disparate phenomena as economic redistribution, corporate employment concentration, and changing labor force structure. The integration of energy into an economic growth model has the potential to offer insight into the future effects of fossil fuel depletion on key macroeconomic indicators, which is already manifested in stalled or diminished growth and escalating debt in many national economies. This book argues for an alternative, biophysical perspective to the study of growth, and presents a set of ‘stylized facts’ that such an approach must successfully explain. Aspects of biophysical analysis are combined with differential monetary analysis to arrive at a unique empirical methodology for investigating the elements and dependencies of the economic growth process. Book page on Springer's site: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-12826-9

Suggested Citation

  • Fix, Blair, 2015. "Rethinking Economic Growth Theory From a Biophysical Perspective," EconStor Books, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 157974.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:esmono:157974
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fisher, Franklin M, 1971. "Aggregate Production Functions and the Explanation of Wages: A Simulation Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(4), pages 305-325, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fix, Blair & Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2019. "Real GDP: The Flawed Metric at the Heart of Macroeconomics," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 51-59.
    2. Blair Fix, 2019. "The Aggregation Problem: Implications for Ecological and Biophysical Economics," Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 1-15, March.
    3. Fix, Blair, 2018. "Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality," SocArXiv v9pur, Center for Open Science.
    4. Blair Fix, 2019. "Energy, hierarchy and the origin of inequality," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(4), pages 1-32, April.
    5. Blair Fix, 2019. "Dematerialization Through Services: Evaluating the Evidence," Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 1-17, June.
    6. Rodríguez-Huerta, Edgar & Rosas-Casals, Martí & Sorman, Alevgul H., 2017. "A societal metabolism approach to job creation and renewable energy transitions in Catalonia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 551-564.
    7. Fix, Blair, 2021. "Living the Good Life in a Non-Growth World. Investigating the Role of Hierarchy," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2021/02, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    8. Fix, Blair, 2018. "Energy, hierarchy and the origin of inequality," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2018/09, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    9. Fix, Blair, 2017. "Energy and Institution Size," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1-22.
    10. Fix, Blair, 2020. "Can the World Get Along Without Natural Resources?," SocArXiv hp5w4, Center for Open Science.
    11. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2017. "Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2017/02, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    12. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2018. "The CasP Project: Past, Present, Future," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(3), pages 1-39.
    13. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2020. "Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(5), pages 1-78.
    14. Fix, Blair, 2019. "Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1-32.
    15. Fix, Blair, 2021. "Living the good life in a non-growth world: Investigating the role of hierarchy," SocArXiv wem9p, Center for Open Science.
    16. Fix, Blair, 2020. "Can the world get along without natural resources?," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2020/05, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    17. Blair Fix, 2017. "Energy and institution size," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 12(2), pages 1-22, February.

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