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Thermoeconomics is the name given to a type of heterodox economic theory that attempt to explicitly apply the principles of thermodynamics to economics. The term "thermoeconomics" was coined in 1962 by American engineer Myron Tribus. Thermoeconomics can be thought of as the statistical physics of economic value. Thermoeconomics is based on the proposition that the role of energy in biological evolution should be defined and understood through the second law of thermodynamics but in terms of such economic criteria as productivity, efficiency, and especially the costs and benefits (or profitability) of the various mechanisms for capturing and utilizing available energy to build biomass and do work.
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Thermoeconomists claim that human economic systems can be modeled as thermodynamic systems then, based on this premise, attempt to develop theoretical economic analogs of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. In addition, the thermodynamic quantity exergy, i.e. measure of the useful work energy of a system, is the most important measure of value. In thermodynamics, thermal systems exchange heat, work, and or mass with their surroundings; in this direction, relations between the energy associated with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services can be determined.
Thermoeconomists argue that economic systems always involve matter, energy, entropy, and information. Moreover, the aim of many economic activities is to achieve a certain structure. In this manner, thermoeconomics attempts to apply the theories in non-equilibrium thermodynamics, in which structure formations called dissipative structures form, and information theory, in which information entropy is a central construct, to the modeling of economic activities in which the natural flows of energy and materials function to create scarce resources. In thermodynamic terminology, human economic activity may be described as a dissipative system, which flourishes by transforming and exchanging resources, goods, and services. These processes involve complex networks of flows of energy and materials.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Thermoeconomics". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|