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The View from Les Houches: Thermodynamics vs. Economics


School of Physics in Les Houches, France, March 2018. Juergen Miknes shows some of the concepts that he has developed in his parallel analysis of thermodynamics and economics. It is a remarkable synthesis that you can find described in detail here. In the slide above, he suggests to replace the Cobb-Douglas function, commonly used in economics, with a function based on the concept of Shannon’s entropy.

I am not sure of a number of things in Miknes’ work, in particular the idea of equating (in some ways at least) the growth of entropy with the growth of production. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating work.

Nevertheless, Miknes was strongly challenged by an economist who didn’t like his field invaded by another one of those pesky physicists. So far, economists have been able to keep physics away from their secluded garden and continue keeping the field open only to people with the right credentials (according to them). For how long, it is all to be seen.

Cassandra’s legacy by Ugo Bardi

9 Comments on "The View from Les Houches: Thermodynamics vs. Economics"

  1. Dave Thompson on Mon, 12th Mar 2018 3:25 pm 

    This is a problem with economists, never counting the biophysical inputs and waste material produced.

  2. Anonymouse1 on Mon, 12th Mar 2018 5:05 pm 

    eCONominsts are trained to only count things that truly matter, like GDP, dollars, and interest rates and…..that’s…pretty much it.

  3. dissident on Mon, 12th Mar 2018 9:13 pm 

    Very nice, the economy is basically a heat engine. Moron economists think it runs on money. No it runs on actual resources: mass and energy. These underpin all the abstract processes that make up the economy. Humans need food and warmth (or cooling), machines need energy (fuel or electricity). Every link between economic processes (which is also a process) requires energy and resources.

    And economists are morons when they come with gems such as: if we run out of copper, we will make more. I guess money and demand are more fundamental than matter and energy in the minds of these hacks.

  4. robert wilson on Mon, 12th Mar 2018 10:21 pm 

    Does he mention Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen?

  5. robert wilson on Mon, 12th Mar 2018 10:27 pm 

    Correction. I now see Georgescu-Roegen’s aone on the photo.

  6. Bloomer on Mon, 12th Mar 2018 10:27 pm 

    Greed can not be create or destroy. It resides in all of us and will be our undoing.

  7. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 13th Mar 2018 4:47 am 

    What kind of article title is that?

    “The view of The Couches?”

  8. Anonymouse1 on Tue, 13th Mar 2018 1:34 pm 

    aka, ‘Les Sofa’

  9. Harquebus on Tue, 13th Mar 2018 6:48 pm 

    “The trouble is climate scientists don’t understand economic policy.” — Judith Sloan

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