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Title: Energy, entropy and economic structure
Author: Proops, John L. R.
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 1979
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This thesis takes as its central theme the problem of why economies ■ use energy. Some thermodynamic aspects of economic functioning are examined, particular attention being paid to the relationship between the "organisation" exhibited by economies and their rates of energy dissipation. An attempt is made to place this study of economies in the context of the evolution and interrelation of ideas in economics and thermodynamics. It is noted that some authors have suggested that as economies become more organised their rates of energy dissipation increase. As the notion of "organisation" is closely allied to that of "entropy", the entropy/information concept is examined in some detail, particularly in its applications to the social and biological sciences. The properties of general dissipative systems are explored, and the possibility of such systems becoming progressively more organised over time is examined with.reference to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the "Evolutionary Arrow of Time". It is argued that if a physical viewpoint is taken, economies can be considered as self-organising dissipative systems. To allow suitable measures of organisation and dissipation to be defined for economies an examination is made of the application of Input-Output analysis to the formulation of Energy Intensities and the Energy Coefficient. Several measures of organisation and dissipation cure devised, and using empirical analysis is carried out. The conclusion reached is that two effects are present. Comparison between economies confirms that energy dissipation by economies is greatest for those that are most organised. For any given economy over time, though, it seems that as that economy becomes more organised it also becomes more "efficient" in its use of energy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HB Economic Theory