"The bewildering complexity of human knowledge developed in the twentieth century is to be retained and well used, unifying concepts are needed to consolidate the understanding of systems of many kinds and to simplify the teaching of general principles." (T. Odum)
Out reduction of fallacious false determinism for lone private interest
One of the relative and falsely scientific achievements of the twentieth century was the unification of the natural sciences—unification in the sense that, although very different models are used, the basic understandings of such diverse fields as biology, physics and chemistry were made to be compatible with formal sciences; as logic or mathematics. The situation in the social sciences is quite different. Theories of individual human behavior held by economists, sociologists, anthropologists and 'decision's scientists' are often contradictory and incompatible when applied to realities, despite increasingly using the same formal means (in a narrowed way ?)..
Physics, which apply more or less simply to any kind of biological or inert systems, manages principles of equilibrium or conservation and kinds of transformations that involve matter, energy, and information. For an easy review of these principles, thermodynamics generally put its perspective at a whole macroscopic levels and registers, before and after changes, in these three basic perspectives (matter, energy, and information), not at a too detailed level of scale. This eliminates confusion about how transformations occur (kinetics and intermediate products), treating your system during such processes like a black box. It is often enough to review changes of values and inputs and outputs and in manageable characteristics (temperature, pressure, temperature, concentration, or densities) to determine main transformations.
Thermodynamics is increasingly seen an essential formalism. If it has not been systematically developed, for more subjective complex representations; it is perhaps because it joins rigorous but simple formalism tightly with experiments. Thus, it is in physics and chemistry that this science of balances has received realistic applications. On the other side the specialists of subjective sciences, perhaps because they are more interested in the aesthetics of their concepts, rather than keen to link their issues to the values of their interests, have ignored or underscored thermodynamics' formalism. Anyhow, to observe that developing such formalism to hardly experiment-able issues, neither reproducible out laboratory conditions, happens to have primarily theoretical and still inconsistently managed.
Now thermodynamics structured webs of concepts, tightly relating the macroscopic formal scale; set the most probable average issues. Knowing enough - but not necessarily all the values of the system - should allows to calculate the remaining ones. “Criteria of equilibrium” are expressed as null value of derivatives with stability of given conditions of environment conditions and chemical potential. “Fundamental equation” provides with the changes of energies adjusting thermodynamics network where partial differentiates (∂. /∂.) of fundamental energetic ratio define values of basic conditions (temperature, pressure, entropy, volume).
Root Economy in Essential Thermodynamics should apply to Life ?
Chemistry, because interested by the possibilities of transformations and the general equilibrium of chemical species, makes an intense use of thermodynamics. This formalism is intermediate between experiments using temperatures, pressures, concentrations and volumes as means of driving transformations. Thermodynamicians, physical statisticians and physical chemists use systems as analytical objects and have developed concepts of energy (free or internal), enthalpy, information (entropy), and functions of states.
So, the there is First Law of conservation of energy and correspondence to matter. Then to explain the mechanisms of transformations and the directions of changes, while delimiting complexity, you have the Second Law of thermodynamics concerning entropy. Entropy is the sort of concept of information used by thermodynamics, a function of state easier when you observe just overall changes. It is essential to understand the spontaneous evolution of systems and can the seen as the engine of all reach more entropy or highest disorganization. But, if complex constructions want to use it and since they carry less or negative entropy or neguentropy, it implies openness of systems, that is, their ability to input or include more energy and possibly information. So, even if entropy waste energy being the trend to more disorder, it allows too the development of complication and the emergence of living systems. Living bodies can be seen as systems reaching a level of reproduction, especially of the information concerning their own identity and the means to maintain their highest level of complexity.
More complex applications of thermodynamics to economics decisions need complement to primary thermodynamics with patterns of energetic, material and information concepts, to relate the signification of formula respect to relevant concepts in "sciences of decision" like with the ways variations of entropy are calculated to make philosophy of nature, ecology, and social energetics. Kinds of exchange on the hedge or border have been formalized, like the concept of exergy (heat absorbed by the system and by unit of time) have started to be used.
The black box includes small transformations and intermediate states, systems, and parameters, pieces of information where you can use methods and objects (as distributions) of statistics of fundamental physics. Statistics is not just for the great numbers of of complex populations as in ecology, economical series or social data. It starts deep in exact fundamental sciences and probability theory, since quantic mechanics of fundamental particles. Ignoring the details of the black boxe gave the possibility of being as brutal as physics allows without facing moral issues. Actually in disciplined registers it seems that there is no limits in the creation of artificial kinds of division or separation, with the purpose to purify as in hard physical experimentation; but social use will require more complex patterns for employing their criteria.
Insights in economics of ecological thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is universal and inspiring now social sciences, in a less esoteric way than before (in the nineteenth century, when inspired by the discover of entropy) but we still lack consistent applications. It should be useful to adapt this formalism to “soft sciences,” especially to discard fallacies of “mechanistic" abuses in social sciences. It was only with higher levels of explanation of irreversibility and dynamic maintained instability, at the beginning seen as selfish curiosities, that some light shed on these black boxes. These became important to understand biological systems, irreversible transformations, microscopic systems, incorporated subsystems and complexity in biophysical and biochemical processes.
Onsager, Schrodinger, Prigogine, Atlan with the basic of irreversible transformations thermodynamics paved the way. E. & T Odum developed an organic analysis of thermodynamics issues in ecology. A formalism of bioeconomics have made environmental economics out thermodynamics. Models of natural resources economics, have adapted basic economics and ecology concepts like capital within the explosion of formalisms last decades economics. Some conscious economists (as Georgescu-Roengen or Passet) have tried to bridge better formal sciences of physics and/or emerging biomathemetics (first with May, Murray and mathematicians of ecology) with methods of economics. But plenty stay to specify in manageable heuristics, as we might say 'in mechanics of formal thermoeconomics' and all in care of complexity; to make it consistent with our level of concern and interest. Criteria and patterns of application, including the treatment of core concepts of economics' epistemology so as to make them suggestively lawful.
Have in mind from thermodynamics of life:
- fundamental physical properties are more universal or global, defining fields.
- fundamental layer of maximum complexity or neguentropy have gain sense of unity not free of limits, to being flexible,
- care that on one side these units take from the environment, follow and are under entropy (overall increasing disorder), take from environment to compensate entropy and eventually develop their neguentropy with some energetic cost,
- observe that formally this unit subpart of system (including the environment) stands on minimum amount of quantities (of matter, part of matter used as inner energetic provision - eventually moved by entropy, information from entropy's path having been "paved" by evolution).
- see the economics of this unit as a balance between its sources from entropy and part building neguentropy for the preservation or maintenance of minimum(economical) - maximum (identity) level of complexity; a (foamy) margin that defines its future, adaptability and within which limits unit's (or body's) function maintain as economically as possible(at least this unit).
- consider that on one side human (with some margin) and more disorder (of natural environment) by transforming the environment; consider also that humans' knowledge make their use of sort of energetic relations available in biological as well as non biological environments (thus either decapitalizing either making (sometimes better) use of environment sources of energy,
- observe that if what we measure of entropy is change its "ground" can be seen as the top of an iceberg: large proportion potentially emerging, small emerged portion, when any process of transformation, an intermediate portion of neguentropy, can make more complexity; hence more a gain of potential neguentropy of the subunit within its system's environment or less complexity is so issuing entropy by the subunit of our interest: ourself (in our environment)
- as a result the fundamental economics of this is 1) to maintain the minimum level of essential complexity (preserving the unit of the subsystem - otherwise we are dead), 2) not to observe too large expression of our entropy (we also die) be it our or making our environment too brutal to live in, 3) maintain and develop with neguentropy of our unit subsystem or of our environment cautious also of point 2) since any structuring has a cost in this term (see further economics like applications of fundamental landmarks).
- Using a resource means, decreasing usability measured by potential entropy,
- Environment has a limited entropy disposal capability (but plenty of stocks from geological time and still a major input for long since the Sun),
- Technospheres disclose entropy from the environment and from the subunit of humans' societies, our aim would be the wise way you use it for our balance of entropy (maintain), neguentropy (development), manageability and sustainability of further state having care not to transformed an environment in an unmanageable way (excess of organization),
- So entropy's disorganization to rest of Earth,
- Energy transferred to environment especially in its less usable way like heat radiation (global warming if trapped by clouds as in green house effect),
- Ambiguities of the definition of technospheres have more organized (within a less organized natural environment) and the energetic costs required by its maintenance (anticipated or revealed: inertia, overtaking or leviathan's effect),
- See that entropy (since evidenced by balance of energy during transformation) is dynamically the crude expression of a potential of disorganization reached by some level of organization structural and partly functional, bearing information
- So entropy, as expressed and lost, makes a loss of information. Neguentropy creates information either historically (if enough of previous information can have been preserved) either in different ways. So there is an information carried by all the relative maps of matters' distribution and matter used as energy's sources maps of distribution, meanwhile these maps making information are complex and difficult to comprehend (but afterwards easy to talk about, fallaciously), but calling commonly that 'information' - we prefer to call that communication).
- Thus the reason why in the biological world spontaneous feeding and transformations often prefer what is already, as evolution provides, complex foods containing already complex mixtures of food or raw products containing matter, matter source of energy and information, rather than cruder elements.
Can this help to quantify economics and sustainability?
- interactions Technologies versus Environment (consider the environment the system but the basic unit the humane society in its core need of survival) and as close as possible to a manageable size of human group(s), able to comprehend the complexity of the environment)
- considering the complexity of “thermodynamic footprint” compare a set of possible options, compare their thermodynamic impact, diversity of effects or probabilities of impact; through social frames and convince democracy (options having been designed democratically and cautiously),
- Apply under sense of complexity in margins of exchanges having (so a socially consistent sense of transformations by the margins, having those both a triple perspective of specificity: qualitative, quantitative and economical ( commonly these will not perfectly coincide and may be driven according some hierarchical disposal (considering that if transformations do not disturb everything, the 3 perspectives can be examined successively, according the hierarchy).
- Incorporate successively within the margins from the micro-level carrying the most fundamental physical laws (more universal) make the ground, the macrolevel (which carry the system or ecosystem, in the relative margins that delimit is present transformations) for the meso-level (human group) considering also that its engineering skill make this group able to create new relations (within the range of possibilities defined by the microlevel),
- At the meso level, the subjective resource to apply with the traditional economical concepts but observing that the economics of this information may have well enough to do with ethical criteria when engineering the transformations of environment, the pertinence of fundamental knowledge, in what it can help to satisfy needs and help to be cautious, instead of creating illusions with abstract speculations; be nevertheless speculations or hope wise, all what can bring moral satisfaction, low level of environmental transformation, harmonious levels of sociality.
- Exergy seems to be a good parameter for synthesis, still remind that heat can somehow be reused, consider money as a piece of communication, to relate better to fundamental information, and fundamental information to formulate better since, entropy, neguentropy, evolution's pathways and construction of complexity, better formal expressions of complexity: probably since the various meaning and expression of time, possibly being times informations, rather then an abstract oriented line (naked arrow).
See other introducing pages, since other formalisms have to be considered for, like quantic mechanics (or better say the use of multivalued logics, as develop by quantic mechanics, for possible development of analogies in social algebra) and other technical sorts of quantification as network algebra, and so on.
Care that we do not pretend to provide you with everything of a new formalism; more few ideas for very (visionary) future resources in the economical interpretations of formal means. Since modern economics, too tightened to mechanistic utopical easiness, have stood well behind the resources of mathematics, made an utopical use of asymptotic infinite domain of real numbers, and for most tried to interpret in economical terms some results demonstrated in more exact sciences. But it has nevertheless helped to explore the pure forms of many interesting concepts of secondary logics quite significant to the subjectivity of teleologic human beings.