Energy, Aesthetics and Knowledge in Complex Economic Systems
It is argued that the fact that economic systems are dissipative structures must be taken fully into account in economics if we are to understand the nature of the economic-ecological interface and how to deal with emergent environmental problems, such as global warming. Such problems are a product of economic growth, which is widely accepted to be the outcome of the acquisition and application of knowledge. Drawing upon disparate literatures within and outside economics, it is argued that economic growth should be more properly viewed as the outcome of a co-evolutionary process that involves the autocatalytic interaction of new knowledge and access of increasing amounts of free energy to do increasingly specialized forms of work. The conventional view is that energy is just a factor of production used increasingly as new knowledge is employed. The possibility of reverse causation is considered here. Specifically, the relevance of the ï¿½energy hypothesis,ï¿½ associated with Eric Schneider and his collaborators, is assessed. This hypothesis states that all dissipative structures have, as their primary objective, the reduction of accessible free energy gradients. It is concluded that such a hypothesis cannot be rejected in the context of economic behaviour and that this opens up an important research agenda for economists. It is argued that such research has to be interdisciplinary because our economic behaviour is driven by aspirational goals which are aesthetic constructions in the mind and strongly connected to our emotions. In this regard, recent neuropsychological literature, arguing that certain emotional dispositions are necessary before we can employ our cognitive capabilities effectively, is important to digest. Thus, the possibility exists that it is in the emotional domain of the mind that the energy hypothesis is operative. Aesthetic constructions are, thus, connecting agents in the knowledge-energy co-evolutionary process. Some of the macroeconomic evidence concerning the relationship between free energy use and economic growth is considered and it is found that the energy hypothesis cannot be rejected in the economic domain. However, considerably more research needs to be undertaken before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
To our knowledge, this item is not available for
download. To find whether it is available, there are three
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.
|Date of creation:||2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +61 7 3365 6570
Fax: +61 7 3365 7299
Web page: http://www.uq.edu.au/economics/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Ulrich Witt, 2007.
"Novelty and the Bounds of Unknowledge in Economics,"
Papers on Economics and Evolution
2007-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
- Ulrich Witt, 2009. "Novelty and the bounds of unknowledge in economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 361-375.
- Rosser, J. Jr., 1992. "The dialogue between the economic and the ecologic theories of evolution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 195-215, March.
- Lipsey, Richard G., 2009.
"Economic growth related to mutually interdependent institutions and technology,"
Journal of Institutional Economics,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(03), pages 259-288, December.
- Richard Lipsey, 2008. "Economic Growth Related to Mutually Interdependent Institutions and Technology," Discussion Papers dp08-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
- Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & John M. Gowdy, 1998.
"Evolutionary Theories in Environmental and Resource Economics: Approaches and Applications,"
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers
98-122/3, Tinbergen Institute.
- Jeroen van den Bergh & John Gowdy, 2000. "Evolutionary Theories in Environmental and Resource Economics: Approaches and Applications," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(1), pages 37-57, September.
- Kaberger, Tomas & Mansson, Bengt, 2001. "Entropy and economic processes -- physics perspectives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 165-179, January.
- Potts, Jason & Foster, John & Straton, Anna, 2010.
"An entrepreneurial model of economic and environmental co-evolution,"
Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 375-383, December.
- Jason Potts & John Foster & Anna Straton, 2010. "An entrepreneurial model of economic and environmental co-evolution," Discussion Papers Series 409, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
- Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003.
"From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution,"
03-41, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2005. "From Foraging To Farming: Explaining The Neolithic Revolution," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 561-586, 09.
- Prof John Foster, 2004.
"From Simplistic to Complex Systems in Economics,"
Discussion Papers Series
335, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
- Kuran, Timur, 2009. "Explaining the economic trajectories of civilizations: The systemic approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 593-605, September.
- Costanza, Robert, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 89-90, November.
- De Fraja, Gianni, 2009. "The origin of utility: Sexual selection and conspicuous consumption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 51-69, October.
- KennethJ. Arrow & ParthaS. Dasgupta, 2009.
"Conspicuous Consumption, Inconspicuous Leisure,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(541), pages F497-F516, November.
- Brian J. Loasby, 2007. "A Cognitive Perspective on Entrepreneurship and the Firm," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(7), pages 1078-1106, November.
- Gillett, Stephen L., 2006. "Entropy and its misuse, I. Energy, free and otherwise," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 58-70, January.
- Uwe Cantner & Jean-Luc Gaffard & Lionel Nesta, 2008. "Schumpeterian perspectives on innovation, competition and growth," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 291-293, August.
- Matthew Baker, 2008. "A structural model of the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 257-292, December.
- Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 1998.
"The Induced Innovation Hypothesis and Energy-Saving Technological Change,"
dp-98-12-rev, Resources For the Future.
- Richard G. Newell & Adam B. Jaffe & Robert N. Stavins, 1999. "The Induced Innovation Hypothesis And Energy-Saving Technological Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 941-975, August.
- Richard G. Newell & Adam B. Jaffe & Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "The Induced Innovation Hypothesis and Energy-Saving Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 6437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roberts, P. C., 1982. "Energy and value," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 171-180, September.
- van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M. & Gowdy, John M., 2009. "A group selection perspective on economic behavior, institutions and organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-20, October.
- John Bryant, 1982.
"A Thermodynamic Approach to Economics,"
te1982, Economic Consultancy, Vocat International.
- Ayres, Robert U., 1998. "Eco-thermodynamics: economics and the second law," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 189-209, August.
- John M. Gowdy, 2006. "Darwinian selection and cultural incentives for resource use: Tikopia as a case study of sustainability," International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(4), pages 348-361.
- Binswanger, Mathias, 1993. "From microscopic to macroscopic theories: entropic aspects of ecological and economic processes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 209-233, December.
- Lozada, Gabriel A., 2006. "Entropy, free energy, work, and other thermodynamic variables in economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 71-78, January.
- Tainter, Joseph A. & Allen, T.F.H. & Hoekstra, T.W., 2006. "Energy transformations and post-normal science," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 44-58.
- Warr, Benjamin & Schandl, Heinz & Ayres, Robert U., 2008. "Long term trends in resource exergy consumption and useful work supplies in the UK, 1900 to 2000," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 126-140, December.
- Veblen, Thorstein, 1898. "The Barbarian Status of Women," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 4.
- Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C.S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Mäler, Karl-Göran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1996.
"Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment,"
Environment and Development Economics,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 104-110, February.
- Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C. S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Maler, Karl-Goran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 91-95, November.
- Richard Horan & Erwin Bulte & Jason Shogren, 2008. "Coevolution of human speech and trade," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 293-313, December.
- Witt, Ulrich, 1991. "Economics, sociobiology and behavioral psychology on preferences," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 557-573, December.
- Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
- J. Stan Metcalfe, 2010. "Technology and economic theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 153-171, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:404. 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: (SOE IT)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.