The Second Law of Economics

Author: Reiner Kümmel
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781441993656
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Nothing happens in the world without energy conversion and entropy production. These fundamental natural laws are familiar to most of us when applied to the evolution of stars, biological processes, or the working of an internal combustion engine, but what about industrial economies and wealth production, or their constant companion, pollution? Does economics conform to the First and the Second Law of Thermodynamics? In this important book, Reiner Kümmel takes us on a fascinating tour of these laws and their influence on natural, technological, and social evolution. Analyzing economic growth in Germany, Japan, and the United States in light of technological constraints on capital, labor, and energy, Professor Kümmel upends conventional economic wisdom by showing that the productive power of energy far outweighs its small share of costs, while for labor just the opposite is true. Wealth creation by energy conversion is accompanied and limited by polluting emissions that are coupled to entropy production. These facts constitute the Second Law of Economics. They take on unprecedented importance in a world that is facing peak oil, debt-driven economic turmoil, and threats from pollution and climate change. They complement the First Law of Economics: Wealth is allocated on markets, and the legal framework determines the outcome. By applying the First and Second Law we understand the true origins of wealth production, the issues that imperil the goal of sustainable development, and the technological options that are compatible both with this goal and with natural laws. The critical role of energy and entropy in the productive sectors of the economy must be realized if we are to create a road map that avoids a Dark Age of shrinking natural resources, environmental degradation, and increasing social tensions.

Energy Complexity and Wealth Maximization

Author: Robert Ayres
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 331930545X
Format: PDF, ePub
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This book is about the mechanisms of wealth creation, or what we like to think of as evolutionary "progress." The massive circular flow of goods and services between producers and consumers is not a perpetual motion machine; it has been dependent for the past 150 years on energy inputs from a finite storage of fossil fuels. In this book, you will learn about the three key requirements for wealth creation, and how this process acts according to physical laws, and usually after some part of the natural wealth of the planet has been exploited in an episode of "creative destruction." Knowledge and natural capital, particularly energy, will interact to power the human wealth engine in the future as it has in the past. Will it sputter or continue along the path of evolutionary progress that we have come to expect? Can the new immaterial wealth of information and ideas, which makes up the so-called knowledge economy, replace depleted natural wealth? These questions have no simple answers, but this masterful book will help you to understand the grand challenge of our time. Praise for Energy, Complexity and Wealth Maximization: “... people who run the modern world (politicians, economists and lawyers) have a very poor grasp of how it really works because they do not understand the fundamentals of energy, exergy and entropy ... those decision-makers would greatly benefit from reading this book ...” - Vaclav Smil, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Manitoba “... A grandiose design; impressive, worth reading and reflecting!” - Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizäcker, Founder of Wuppertal Institute; Co-President of the Club of Rome, Former Member of the German Bundestag, co-chair of the UN’s Resource Panel “... The book is a must read for concerned citizens and decision makers across the globe.” - RK Pachauri, Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and ex-chair, International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Econophysics of Agent Based Models

Author: Frédéric Abergel
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 3319000233
Format: PDF
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The primary goal of this book is to present the research findings and conclusions of physicists, economists, mathematicians and financial engineers working in the field of "Econophysics" who have undertaken agent-based modelling, comparison with empirical studies and related investigations. Most standard economic models assume the existence of the representative agent, who is “perfectly rational” and applies the utility maximization principle when taking action. One reason for this is the desire to keep models mathematically tractable: no tools are available to economists for solving non-linear models of heterogeneous adaptive agents without explicit optimization. In contrast, multi-agent models, which originated from statistical physics considerations, allow us to go beyond the prototype theories of traditional economics involving the representative agent. This book is based on the Econophys-Kolkata VII Workshop, at which many such modelling efforts were presented. In the book, leading researchers in their fields report on their latest work, consider recent developments and review the contemporary literature.

The Seneca Effect

Author: Ugo Bardi
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319572075
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The essence of this book can be found in a line written by the ancient Roman Stoic Philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca: "Fortune is of sluggish growth, but ruin is rapid". This sentence summarizes the features of the phenomenon that we call "collapse," which is typically sudden and often unexpected, like the proverbial "house of cards." But why are such collapses so common, and what generates them? Several books have been published on the subject, including the well known "Collapse" by Jared Diamond (2005), "The collapse of complex societies" by Joseph Tainter (1998) and "The Tipping Point," by Malcom Gladwell (2000). Why The Seneca Effect? This book is an ambitious attempt to pull these various strands together by describing collapse from a multi-disciplinary viewpoint. The reader will discover how collapse is a collective phenomenon that occurs in what we call today "complex systems," with a special emphasis on system dynamics and the concept of "feedback." From this foundation, Bardi applies the theory to real-world systems, from the mechanics of fracture and the collapse of large structures to financial collapses, famines and population collapses, the fall of entire civilzations, and the most dreadful collapse we can imagine: that of the planetary ecosystem generated by overexploitation and climate change. The final objective of the book is to describe a conclusion that the ancient stoic philosophers had already discovered long ago, but that modern system science has rediscovered today. If you want to avoid collapse you need to embrace change, not fight it. Neither a book about doom and gloom nor a cornucopianist's dream, The Seneca Effect goes to the heart of the challenges that we are facing today, helping us to manage our future rather than be managed by it.

Why More Is Different

Author: Brigitte Falkenburg
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3662439115
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The physics of condensed matter, in contrast to quantum physics or cosmology, is not traditionally associated with deep philosophical questions. However, as science - largely thanks to more powerful computers - becomes capable of analysing and modelling ever more complex many-body systems, basic questions of philosophical relevance arise. Questions about the emergence of structure, the nature of cooperative behaviour, the implications of the second law, the quantum-classical transition and many other issues. This book is a collection of essays by leading physicists and philosophers. Each investigates one or more of these issues, making use of examples from modern condensed matter research. Physicists and philosophers alike will find surprising and stimulating ideas in these pages.

Managing Without Growth

Author: Peter A. Victor
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
ISBN: 1848442998
Format: PDF, Docs
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Managing Without Growth offers a compelling argument for the need for a new policy focus in the rich nations. Peter Victor argues that it is time for our obsession with economic growth to end. A new focus on human well-being must replace our more is better philosophy. Brett Dolter, Briarpatch Magazine Peter Victor clearly presents the arguments as to why already relatively rich countries may have to manage low or no growth in their economies if they wish to address rather than continue contributing to global environmental problems. His modelling suggests that managing without growth need not be the economic disaster that is so often assumed. This is a lucid book that provides an excellent introduction to this important but neglected area. Paul Ekins, King's College London, UK At last, Managing Without Growth, a book that puts economics in its proper place within the real world and points the direction we must go in confronting the ecological crisis of the planet. As an economist, environmental studies professor Peter Victor is eminently qualified for the task. He examines some of our most fundamental assumptions and beliefs about the market, pricing, free trade and growth, prosperity and happiness that too often preclude a serious consideration of the environment and economy. His book couldn t be a more timely and important analysis of the destructive consequences of aspiring to endless growth and downloading the costs onto nature itself. He makes a powerful case for the need to work deliberately towards a steady state economy where the real world of the biosphere should set the limits to our activity. Victor s book should be at the basis for our discussion of these critical issues today. David Suzuki, broadcaster and activist Peter Victor analyses the critical policy question of our time, how to manage our economy equitably and efficiently without growing beyond biophysical limits. He reasons carefully and rigorously, yet pulls no punches in drawing conclusions that some will consider radical. A superb book! Herman E. Daly, University of Maryland, US Overcoming our addiction to economic growth is one of the most important challenges for the 21st century. Peter Victor s masterful summary of the history and fallacies of this particularly pervasive and increasingly dangerous addiction will be a great help in getting over it. A sustainable and desirable future requires clearly differentiating between bigger and better and a recognition that in the overdeveloped West these two have parted ways. Peter Victor s book will help us slow down by design, not disaster, and understand how that slowing down will in fact increase our quality of life. Robert Costanza, The University of Vermont, US Peter Victor s book is a carefully crafted argument for managing without growth . It is not only an up-to-date survey of the latest thinking on energy, climate, and population, it offers practical policy responses to these challenges. This book is a must read for academics and policymakers concerned with environmental integrity and human wellbeing. John Gowdy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, US Peter Victor challenges the priority that rich countries continue to give to economic growth as an over-arching objective of economic policy. The challenge is based on a critical analysis of the literature on environmental and resource limits to growth, on the disconnect between higher incomes and happiness, and on the failure of economic growth to meet other key economic, social and environmental policy objectives. Shortly after World War II, economic growth became the paramount economic policy objective in most countries, a position that it maintains today. This book presents three arguments on why rich countries should turn away from economic growth as the primary policy objective and pursue more specific objectives that enhance wellbeing. The author contends that continued economic growth worldwide is unrealistic due to environmental and

Questioning the Foundations of Physics

Author: Anthony Aguirre
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319130455
Format: PDF
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The essays in this book look at way in which the fundaments of physics might need to be changed in order to make progress towards a unified theory. They are based on the prize-winning essays submitted to the FQXi essay competition “Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?”, which drew over 270 entries. As Nobel Laureate physicist Philip W. Anderson realized, the key to understanding nature’s reality is not anything “magical”, but the right attitude, “the focus on asking the right questions, the willingness to try (and to discard) unconventional answers, the sensitive ear for phoniness, self-deception, bombast, and conventional but unproven assumptions.” The authors of the eighteen prize-winning essays have, where necessary, adapted their essays for the present volume so as to (a) incorporate the community feedback generated in the online discussion of the essays, (b) add new material that has come to light since their completion and (c) to ensure accessibility to a broad audience of readers with a basic grounding in physics. The Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi, catalyzes, supports, and disseminates research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality, but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.

Die Vierte Dimension der Sch pfung

Author: Reiner Kümmel
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISBN: 3642553508
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Ist Gott, wie ihn der christliche Glaube bekennt, vereinbar mit dem naturwissenschaftlichen Weltbild? Physiker sind sich weitgehend darin einig, dass ihre auf Experimenten in der Energie-Materie-Welt beruhende Wissenschaft in Sachen Religion nichts widerlegen oder beweisen kann. Und dennoch wird die Frage weiterhin viel diskutiert. Reiner Kümmel, Professor der theoretischen Physik, beschreibt in diesem Buch das Naturverständnis der modernen Physik, das von Relativitätstheorie und Quantenmechanik geprägt wird. Demgemäß ist die Zeit die vierte Dimension der Welt. Zusammen mit den drei räumlichen Dimensionen ist sie im Urknall aus Energie entstanden. Ihr Fließen macht sich durch die Produktion von Entropie, sprich Unordnung, bemerkbar, die unsere Gesellschaft in Krise und Umbruch treibt. Beobachtete natürliche Ereignisse und Strukturen zeigen uns eine Welt, in der Gegegensätze zusammenfallen. Der Autor weist darauf hin, dass diese "Coincidentia Oppositorum" auch Gott eignet. Sie führt zur "Creatio Continua", in der Gott, überzeitlich und jederzeit, die gesamte Schöpfung von ihrem Anfang bis zum Ende schafft und sieht. Das Buch versucht eine Darstellung des Sehens in die Zeit, an dem vielleicht auch wir einst teilhaben dürfen. Es wendet sich an alle, die sich fragen, woher wir kommen und wohin wir gehen und eröffnet eine Sicht auf Gott und die Welt, in der Glaube und Naturwissenschaft gut zusammen passen.

The Challenge of Chance

Author: Klaas Landsman
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319263005
Format: PDF, Docs
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This book presents a multidisciplinary perspective on chance, with contributions from distinguished researchers in the areas of biology, cognitive neuroscience, economics, genetics, general history, law, linguistics, logic, mathematical physics, statistics, theology and philosophy. The individual chapters are bound together by a general introduction followed by an opening chapter that surveys 2500 years of linguistic, philosophical, and scientific reflections on chance, coincidence, fortune, randomness, luck and related concepts. A main conclusion that can be drawn is that, even after all this time, we still cannot be sure whether chance is a truly fundamental and irreducible phenomenon, in that certain events are simply uncaused and could have been otherwise, or whether it is always simply a reflection of our ignorance. Other challenges that emerge from this book include a better understanding of the contextuality and perspectival character of chance (including its scale-dependence), and the curious fact that, throughout history (including contemporary science), chance has been used both as an explanation and as a hallmark of the absence of explanation. As such, this book challenges the reader to think about chance in a new way and to come to grips with this endlessly fascinating phenomenon.