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Economics and Thermodynamics : New Perspectives on Economic Analysis - Peter Burley

Economics and Thermodynamics

New Perspectives on Economic Analysis

By: Peter Burley (Editor), John Foster (Editor)

Hardcover Published: 31st August 1994
ISBN: 9780792394464
Number Of Pages: 258

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Over the past two decades we have witnessed something of a revolution in the natural sciences as thermodynamic thinking evolved from an equilibrium, or 'classical', perspective, to a nonequilibrium, or 'self­ organisational' one. In this transition, thermodynamics has been applied in new ways and in new fields of inquiry. Chemical and biological (evolutionary) processes have been analysed, increasingly, in non­ equilibrium thermodynamical terms. Economics has, since the late 19th century, relied heavily upon metaphors and analogies derived from the natural sciences - mechanical analogies cast in terms of traditional Newtonian physics and expressed in terms of Cartesian logic have been especially popular. Thermodynamics, on the other hand, has been less popular, despite its early application in economics by Stanley Jevons, the father of modern notions of utility maximisation in neoclassical economics, and despite its promotion in economic contexts by Paul Samuelson, the author of the definitive treatise upon which post war neoclassical economic theory was based, namely, his Foundations of Economic Analysis. The general neglect of thermodynamic thinking in economics was brought to our attention by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen in the late 1960s, by which time economic theory, evidenced in, for example, the Arrow­ Debreu general eqUilibrium system, had become so sophisticated that it could not be penetrated by thermodynamical ideas. To Georgescu­ Roegen, this presented something of a crisis in economics because neglect of thermodynamics led, in his view, to blindness amongst economists to an economy/environment problem in the global economy.

Introductionp. 1
An Essay in Macroeconomicsp. 9
The Use of Thermodynamic Models in Economicsp. 17
A Survey of Thermodynamical Ideasp. 23
Economic Development as an Escape From Full Employment Entropy Ceilingsp. 39
Comparative Thermodynamics in Chemistry and Economicsp. 47
A Non-Equilibrium Evolutionary Economic Theoryp. 73
Conservation of Mass and the Time Behaviour of Ecological-Economic Systemsp. 99
Entropy, Liberty and Catastrophe: The Physics and Metaphysics of Waste Disposalp. 119
The Self-Organisation Approach in Economicsp. 183
A Thermodynamic Analysis of Library Operationp. 203
From Entropy to Economy: A Thorny Pathp. 207
Thermodynamics and Chaos in Economic Predictionp. 239
Indexp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780792394464
ISBN-10: 0792394461
Series: Recent Economic Thought
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 258
Published: 31st August 1994
Publisher: Springer
Country of Publication: NL
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.56