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Castellano - Français                          On sociodynamics             -- Editor: Róbinson Rojas Sandford
From JWSR, Vol 12, N1 - Julio 2006
The Interplay between Social and Environmental Degradation in the Development of the International Political Economy
By Robert Biel
This article considers capitalism as a dissipative system, developing at the expense of exporting disorder into two sorts of ‘environment’: the physical ecosystem; and a subordinate area of society which serves to nourish mainstream order without experiencing its benefits. Particularly significant is the relationship between the two forms of dissipation. The paper begins by assessing the dangers of translating systems theory into social relations, concluding that the project is nevertheless worthwhile, provided that exploitation and struggle are constantly borne in mind. Exploring the concepts of ‘core’ and ‘periphery,’ the paper highlights the contradictory nature of an attribute of chaos which is both ascribed to the out-group, and also really exported to it. 

From Review of International Political Economy 12:3 August 2005: 383–386
Paradigm making while paradigm breaking: Andre Gunder Frank
By Jan Nederveen Pieterse
As Thomas Kuhn pointed out, most science is puzzle solving and paradigm breakers and paradigm makers are rare. Gunder was among them, and besides, such a contrarian that he was a renegade also of many of his own positions.
His contributions to dependency theory broke with the paradigm of modernization theory and with orthodox Marxist views according to which Latin America was steeped in semi-feudalism. In contrast, he argued that Latin American economies had long been part of capitalist accumulation networks (‘Sociology of underdevelopment and underdevelopment of sociology’, Frank, 1971). In the 1970s he moved beyond dependency theory, (‘Dependence is Dead! Long Live Dependence and the Class Struggle’, 1972) and collaborated with Immanuel Wallerstein and his world-system theory, along with Samir Amin and Giovanni Arrighi. The grand theme at the time was crisis and several of Frank’s books on global capital accumulation developed this perspective. Another keen interest at the time, new social movements, resulted in a paper written together with Marta Fuentes (‘Nine Theses on Social Movements’, Frank and Fuentes, 1987) with a sensibility that predates the World Social Forum, as Samir Amin notes in his obituary in Monthly Review (Amin, 2005).

See Amin's obituary at

Elias L. Khalil, 1995
Nonlinear thermodynamics and social science modelling: fad cycles, cultural development and identicational slips

"...This is not to deny that Prigogine's feedbacks and Haken's dynamics could also be found as aspects of living and social phenomena. As shown below, in fact, nonlinear dynamics might be helpful in elucidating economic and social cycles. The point is rather that Prigogine's and other research programs concerning dynamics are simply unsuited to capture what defines the constitution of purposeful organization - even as simple as that of the amoebae. These research programs are exclusively suited to the study of non-purposeful structures, as epitomized in storms and as they appear as non-essential aspects of purposeful organization..."
The second law of thermodynamics
Entropy and the second law of thermodynamics
--Entropy and the second law of thermodynamics
--The second law of thermodynamics is a tendency
--Obstructions to the secondlaw make life possible
--The second law of thermodynamics and evolution
-Entropy and Gibbs free energy,  D G = D H -TDS
by F. L. Lambert
Principia Cybernetica Web
Entropy and the laws of thermodynamics
The principal energy laws that govern every organization are derived from two famous laws of thermodynamics. The second law, known as Carnot's principle, is controlled by the concept of entropy.
Today the word entropy is as much a part of the language of the physical sciences as it is of the human sciences. Unfortunately, physicists, engineers, and sociologists use indiscriminately a number of terms that they take to be synonymous with entropy, such as disorder, probability, noise, random mixture, heat; or they use terms they consider synonymous with antientropy, such as information, neguentropy, complexity, organization, order, improbability.
Universidad de Zaragoza, Espańa
Journal of SocioCybernetics
SOCIOCYBERNETICS traces its intellectual roots to the rise of a panoply of new approaches to scientific inquiry beginning in the 1940's. These included General System Theory, cybernetics and information theory, game theory and automata, net, set, graph and compartment theories, and decision and queuing theory conceived as strategies in one way or another appropriate to the study of organized complexity. Although today the Research Committee casts a wide net in terms of appropriate subject matters, pertinent theoretical frameworks and applicable methodologies, the range of approaches deployed by scholars associated with RC51 reflect the maturation of these developments. Here we find, again, GST and first- and second-order cybernetics; in addition, there is widespread sensitivity to the issues raised by "complexity studies," especially in work conceptualizing systems as self-organizing, autocatalytic or autopoietic. "System theory", in the form given it by Niklas Luhmann, and world-systems analysis are also prominently represented within the ranks of RC51.
From What-Means.Com: the online encyclopedia
Self-organization refers to a process in which the internal organization of a system , normally an open system , increases automatically without being guided or managed by an outside source. Self-organizing systems typically (though not always) display emergent properties.
Systems theory

Systems theory is an interdisciplinary field with origins in engineering, physics and applied mathematics but has been extended into many areas of natural sciences and humanities such as biology , economics and psychology . Formed in the 1950s it is a precursor the newer field of complex systems which developed in the 1980s and later.
C. Lucas - 1997
Self-Organizing Systems FAQ
The scientific study of self-organising systems is a relatively recent field, although questions about how organisation arises have of course been raised since ancient times. The forms we see around us are just a minute sub-set of those theoretically possible, so why don't we see more variety ? It is to try to answer such questions that we study self-organisation. Many systems in nature show organisation e.g. galaxies, planets, compounds, cells, organisms and societies. Traditional scientific fields attempt to explain these features by reference to the micro properties or laws applicable to their component parts, for example gravitation or chemical bonds. Yet we can also approach the subject in a different way, looking instead for system properties that apply to all such collections of parts, regardless of size or nature. It is here that modern computers prove essential, by allowing us to investigate dynamic changes occuring over vast numbers of time steps, for large numbers of options.
World Systems Research
Andre Gunder Frank website
Jason W. Moore - 2000
Marx and the Historical Ecology of Capital Accumulation on a World Scale: A Comment on Alf Hornborg's "Ecosystems and World Systems: Accumulation as an Ecological Process."

Theotonio dos Santos - 2000
World Economic System: On the Genesis of a Concept
Ilya Prigogine - 2000
The Networked Society
...I feel that there is some analogy between the present evolution toward the networked society and the processes of self-organization I have studied in physics and chemistry. Indeed, nobody has planned the networked society and the information explosion. It is a remarkable example of spontaneous emergence of new forms of society. Complexity is moreover the key feature of far-from-equilibrium structures. The networked society is of course a non-equilibrium structure which emerged as a result of the recent developments in Information Technology.
From - 2002
Getting to know Ilya Prigogine
Note: Professor Prigogine sat down to meet with (SCM) shortly after the Third Prigogine Seminar at the University of Brussels, dedicated to the subject "Penser la Science: Qu'est-ce que l'information?" ("Thinking about Science.What is information?") in early February 2002. The interview refers to the seminar on one or two occasions.
P. Brown (1997): a review of
Order out of Chaos. Man's New Discourse with Nature
by I. Prigogine and I. Stengers (1984)

Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers present a wide ranging and well documented discourse on the gradual emergence of philosophical and scientific thought in regard to conceptions of order and chaos.
In the exposition of one of the main thematic threads of their subject matter, the authors itemise three types of conceptually different systems, only two of which were academically studied and (generally) understood by the progressive expansion of scientific research and theory in relation to the study of natural phenomena exhibited around us - in our terrestrial environment upon this earth, and in the local cosmic environment within which the terrestrial is embedded.
Systems which are in equilibrium or systems which are close to equilibrium are the first two phenomena presented, during which it is noted that such systems are - almost exclusively - the subject matter of the traditional and classical sciences. Such systems are relatively stable, exhibiting known and predictable characteristics which may be represented in parameter driven mathematical models.
However Prigogine chose to attempt investigation of a third and largely ignored class of systems - those which were far from equilibrium. His research earned him the Nobel Prize in 1977, for his work on the thermodynamics of nonequlibrium systems, and his contribution towards the understanding of natural processes and their descriptions has earnt him the respect of many scientists and academics in many fields. The authors have subtitled their publication Man's New Discourse with Nature, and progressively introduce and discuss the conceptual differences between the traditional mechanistic interpretation of the so-called laws of cause and effect and the inability of this paradigm alone to provide explanation for that class of phenomenal systems in which equilibrium conditions are not maintained.
P. Brown (1997): a review of
Chaos, Making a New Science
by J. Gleick (1987)

Chaos breaks across the lines that separate scientific disciplines. Because it is a science of the global nature of systems, it has brought together thinkers from fields that had been widely separated. "Fifteen years ago, science was heading for a crisis of increasing specialization. Dramatically, that specialization has reversed because of chaos." [Page 5]
Andrew K. Jorgenson, & Edward L. Kick-2003
Globalization and the Environment
In recent decades, global capitalist economics, technology (including communication), and global military reach have worked together to remove a major political-military, economic and ideological challenge to capitalism, that is, Eastern bloc-style socialism (it could be argued that we now are working on the next challenge, Islam). While these dynamics have stunted any nascent challenges to market expansion, the latter has created other contradictions. One of these is that “globalization” now threatens the human race with environmental disasters.
Alf Hornborg-2003
Cornucopia or Zero-Sum Game? The Epistemology of Sustainability
This article contrasts two fundamentally different understandings of economic growth and “development” that lead to diametrically opposed approaches to how to deal with global ecological deterioration. One is the currently hegemonic perspective of neoclassi- cal economic theory, which has been used to advocate growth as a remedy for environmental problems. The other is the zero-sum perspective of world-system theory, which instead suggests that growth involves a displacement of ecological problems to peripheral sectors of the world-economy. The article begins by sketching the history of these two perspectives in recent decades and reflecting on the ideological and epistemological contexts of their appearance and different degrees of success. It then turns to the main task of critically scrutinizing some of the foundations of the neoclassical approach to environmental issues, arguing that its optimistic view of growth is based on faulty logic and a poor understanding of the global, physical realities within which money and the capitalist world-system operate.
Stephen G. Bunker-2003
Matter, Space, Energy, and Political Economy: The Amazon in the World-System
Many authors have attempted to incorporate the local into the global. World-systems analysis, though, is rooted in processes of production, and all production remains profoundly local. Understanding the expansion and intensification of the social and material relations of capitalism that have created and sustain the dynamic growth of the world-system from the local to the global requires analysis of material processes of natural and social production in space as differentiated by topography, hydrology, climate, and absolute distance between places. In this article, I consider some of the spatio-material configurations that have structured local effects on global formations within a single region, the Amazon Basin. I first detail and criticize the tendency in world system and globalization analysis, and in the modern social sciences generally, to use spatial metaphors without examining how space affects the material processes around which social actors organize economy and polity. I next examine the work of some earlier social scientists who analyzed specific materio-spatial configurations as these structured human social, economic, and political activities and organization, searching for possible theoretical or methodological tools for building from local to global analysis. I then review some recent analyses of spatio-material determinants of social and economic organization in the Amazon Basin. Finally, I show that the 400-year-long sequence of extractive economies in the Amazon reflected the changing demands of expanded industrial production in the core, and how such processes can best be understood by focusing our analysis on spatiomaterial configurations of local extraction, transport, and production. The Amazon is but one of the specific environments that have supplied raw materials to changing global markets, but close consideration of how its material and spatial attributes shaped the global economy provides insights into the ways other local systems affect the world-system.
Peter Grimes & Jeffrey Kentor-2003
Exporting the Greenhouse: Foreign Capital Penetration and CO2 Emissions 1980–1996
Th is research examines the impact of foreign investment dependence on carbon dioxide emissions between 1980 and 1996. In a cross-national panel regression analysis of 66 less developed countries, we fi nd that foreign capital penetration in 1980 has a signifi cant positive eff ect on the growth of CO₂ emissions between 1980 and 1996. Domestic investment, however, has no systematic effect. We suggest several reasons for these findings. Foreign investment is more concentrated in those  industries that require more energy. Second, transnational corporations may relocate highly polluting industries to countries with fewer environmental controls. Third, the movement of inputs and outputs resulting from the global dispersion of production over the past 30 years is likely to be more energy-expensive in countries with poorer infrastructure. Finally, power generation in the countries receiving foreign investment is considerably less efficient than within the countries of the core.
J. Timmons Roberts Peter E. Grimes & Jodie L. Manale-2003
Social Roots of Global Environmental Change: A World-Systems Analysis of Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Carbon dioxide is understood to be the most important greenhouse gas believed to be altering the global climate. This article applies world-system theory to environmental damage. An analysis of 154 countries examines the contribution of both position in the world economy and internal class and political forces in determining a nation’s CO₂ intensity. CO₂ intensity is defined here as the amount of carbon dioxide released per unit of economic output. An inverted U distribution of CO₂ intensity across the range of countries in the global stratification system is identified and discussed. Ordinary Least Squares regression suggests that the least efficient consumers of fossil fuels are some countries within the semi-periphery and upper periphery, specifically those nations which are high exporters, those highly in debt, nations with higher military spending, and those with a repressive social structure.
R. Scott Frey-2003
The Transfer of Core-Based Hazardous Production Processes to the Export Processing Zones of the Periphery: The Maquiladora Centers of Northern Mexico
Transnational corporations appropriate “carrying capacity” for the core by transferring the core’s hazardous products, production processes, and wastes to the peripheral countries of the world-system. An increasingly important form of this reproduction process is the transfer of core-based hazardous industries to export processing zones (EPZs) located in a number of peripheral countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. A specific case is examined in this paper: the transfer of hazardous industries to the maquiladora centers located on the Mexican side of the Mexico-U.S. border. Maquiladoras provide an excellent case for examining what is known about the causes, adverse consequences, and political responses associated with the transfer of core-based hazardous production processes to the EPZs of the periphery.
Thomas J. Burns, Edward L. Kick, Byron L. Davis-2003
Theorizing and Rethinking Linkages Between the Natural Environment and the Modern World-System: Deforestation in the Late 20th Century
Building on prior work in world-system analysis and human ecology, we test a macrolevel theory that social and demographic causes of deforestation will vary across zones of the modern world-system. Using multivariate regression analysis, we examine models of deforestation over the period 1990-2000. We test for main effects of world-system position, two different population variables (urbanization and proportion under working age), and economic development within zone, as well as for the contextual effects of these variables as they operate differently across world-system positions. Our findings indicate that generic models of deforestation need to be qualified, because the particular social factors most closely associated with deforestation tend to vary by position in the global hierarchy. Deforestation at the macro level is best explained by considering effects of socio-demographic processes contextually, in terms of world-system dynamics. We discuss the findings in a more general world-systems and behavioral ecological framework, and suggest the field will be well served with more precise theorizing and closer attention to scope conditions.
Andrew K. Jorgenson-2003
Lateral Pressure and Deforestation
A Review Essay of Environmental Impacts of Globalization and Trade: A Systems Study by Corey L Lofdahl
Franz J. Broswimmer
Ecocide: A Short History of Mass Extinction of Species
Reviewed by Florencio R. Riguera-2003
Arthur Mol and Frederick Buttel (eds)
The Environmental State Under Pressure
Reviewed by Bruce Podobnik-2003
Elementary Tutorials on
Maximum entropy and exponential models
by A. Berger - Carnegie Mellon University
Maximum entropy modelling
by Zhang Le - University of Edinburg
Scientific resources:
Statistics - Econometrics - Forecasting
by E. Borghes, P. Wessa and Resa Corporation
About sociodynamics and political economy
"The study of Political Economy integrates anthropology, economics, history, law, political science, philosophy and sociology by offering ways of understanding the ... world and providing tools for analyzing contemporary problems.Political Economy seeks to study how such problems interweave and overlap, how they evolved, how they are understood, how and why certain decisions are made about them, and how these issues impact the quality of human life. At its best, Political Economy provides the interdisciplinary tools needed to analyze strategies for social change, historically and in the present, and explore alternatives to the current global system. Major social problems are deeply grounded in theories and history of cultural, philosophical, social, economic and political practice. Their understanding involves exploring basic analytic concepts and values (freedom, equality, justice and democracy) and their meanings today. Political Economy looks at societies as dynamic and ever-changing systems, comparing them in different countries and cultures and evaluating their impacts on the everyday lives of all affected people." (Dr. Peter Bohmer, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, U.S.A., 1996)
Sociodynamics (1)
Róbinson Rojas (1984) on:
Towards a theory of Latin America's "underdevelopment".
The collision, dissolution and fusion of two modes of production.

A short digression is necessary at this stage: my concept of "collision of modes of production" refers to the interaction (military or economic, or both) between different social formations as an historical event. The outcome of that collision amounts to the outcome of the interaction of different economic, social, political and ideological instances, resulting -if one social formation does not destroy the other -in a new complex structure (the fabric of the new social formation).
        On the one hand, in any mode of production, each one of the four instances is simultaneously cause and effect within the complex structure, and in their mutual relation (from here derives the notion of "relative autonomy" attached to social, political and ideological instances, because unlike the economic instance, they are not limited by technological aspects). Thus the complex structure reacts over each one of the instances and viceversa. On the other hand, the appropriation of nature being the aim of human beings grouping in societies, the economic instance (as organisation of the labour process) appears as the first cause, but it is not an isolated instance above the entire process (clearly so because all four instances and the complex structure exist only as relations between human beings grouped in societies). Therefore, this economic instance is limited by both the others and the complex structure, and simultaneously the former (economic instance) poses a limit to all of them.
Sociodynamics (2)
Róbinson Rojas (1984) on:
Towards a theory of Latin America's "underdevelopment".
Some fundamentals: the concept of classes. The concept of limits.

The period analyzed in this section roughly covers from the XIX century onwards. During that period Latin America became politically independent from the colonial powers Spain and Portugal, fragmented in a score of nation states, economically underdeveloped as compared with the industrialized countries of Western Europe and North America, and tied to an international economic system which apparently maintains Latin American nations in a state of economic backwardness, political instability, and, most important, striking social inequalities.
I will argue that the structure of class relations existing in the region at the beginning of the period in question determined (1) the manner and degree in which external political and economic pressures did effect already existing patterns in the distribution of income and economic growth (2). Therefore I will argue that the present state of socio-economic underdevelopment (3) in Latin America is the outcome determined by the particular social structure that took shape in colonial times. A social structure created by the Ibero-American colonial system: a specific social formation with a specific mode of production as its basis, which I called the Latin American mode of production (LAMP).
Sociodynamics (3)
Róbinson Rojas (1984) on:
Towards a theory of Latin America's "underdevelopment".
Latin America: blockages to development

A case study on articulation of modes of production, sociodynamics, self-organizing social systems, and particularly on historical processes as an outcome of collision, dissolution and fusion of two modes of production
It is argued that, so far, all theories of the Latin American process have been biased by an external approach. Examining the theoretical foundations of these theories, it is concluded that these cannot explain the class and production structures existing in the region, neither can predict the emergence of qualitatively new phenomena. Having criticised the discourses of underdevelopment, dependency, development ( modernization ), and world system theories, the analysis then proceeds with the argument that a theory of the Latin American process must conceptualize the social organization of the continent as an entity in itself, and not as an appendage to the development of capitalism in the industrialized countries. Such a theory must be centered on the internal dynamics of the Latin American social structure, and then assess the actual role played by capitalism and imperialism in its policy.
It is argued that Latin American development, as based on a restricted, limited, and upper-class oriented type of market, and a fragmented society, is possible because it corresponds to a particular organization of the labour process, which, in turn, is the product of a particular mode of production. This particular mode of production is the outcome of the fusion of different modes of production in the region. In this context, the international capitalist system -at its imperialist stage- is not a cause, but a profiteer and supporter of the contemporary social structure in Latin America. This particular organization of the labour process sets the boundaries ( limits ) within which Latin America's social structure, political organization and organization of labour can vary. At an abstract level, it is argued, unlike some modern Marxian scholars, that even when the relations of production are the genesis of the social structure, the latter can, in some historical situations, persist after the former subside, and adapt themselves to new forms of relations of production.
It is concluded that...
Sociodynamics (4)
Andre Gunder Frank (2000) on:

Urban location and dissipation of entropy
Globalization is age old and has long been constructed through an ever changing network, especially within and among cities, which constitute the nodal knots in regional, inter-regional, and global networks of communication and other relations. The whole system of networks is greater than the sum of its urban, hinterland, and inter-urban parts, which are shaped and re-shaped by the structure and dynamic of the global system as a whole, to whose transformation the changing parts themselves also contribute. For instance, a change in global or regional trade routes can promote one or more cities at the expense of marginalizing other cities and exert direct effects on imperial or other political relations among these cities or between them and their respective hinterlands. Periods of global or regional...
Sociodynamics (5)
Andre Gunder Frank (2004) on:
ReOrient World History, Social Theory, and the 19th Century

Dissipative structures...this term, coined by Ilya Priogine, refers to the ability of complex systems to transfer their entropic costs to other parts [of the system].... [We] lose sight of the fact that every system in the social order must be paid for by someone, somewhere, sometime. This essential reality is hidden from our view because human beings are very skillful at exporting the costs of their own behavior to others via Dissipative structures...[through which] dissipation of entropy occurs when one system has the will and the ability to force others to absorb the costs of its own growth and prosperity...[which] is one of the defining characteristics of colonial systems, which suggests that the absorption of entropic costs is one of the functions a colony performs for its metropole... [but also] through impersonal market mechanisms so the victims on the periphery are not aware of what is being done to them.
Economics and physical reality
Thermodynamics and Economics

Dietmar Lindenberger    (Institute of Energy Economics, University of Cologne, Germany)
Reiner  Kümmel   (Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of  Würrzburg,  Germany)
Since Georgescu-Roegen´s statement on entropy, there has grown a vast literature on the implications of the laws of thermodynamics for economics. Most of this literature is related to the environmental consequences of the 2nd law, i.e. that any economic activity unavoidably causes pollution1. This important insight could, at least to some extent, be integrated into (environmental) economic theory.
Assessing economic potential:
What the physical sciences have to offer
Jane King   (Resource Use Institute, UK)
Perhaps one of the gaps in traditional economics teaching has been the failure to incorporate physical science into economic analysis. Economists have traditionally been wary of intervention by outsiders. Scientists, for their part, have tended to leave analysis of the economy to those trained in economic techniques. Economics and Science rest on different paradigms. However co-ordination between the two can offer new insights in a situation where economic development is increasingly coming up against physical constraints whether in terms of limited resources, such as oil, water or fish, or of the amounts and nature of pollutants we exude.1  I am one of a growing number of people who believe that economics urgently needs to find a way of dealing with these physical realities. But to do so, it will have to innovate in a fundamental way: it will have to use, in addition to monetary evaluation, a system of physical evaluation.
B. Cimbleris (1980s)
Economy and Thermodynamics
An elementary definition of energy is "capacity of producing work". A rough definition of money is "the ability to make other people work". Money and its equivalents are the motive power of human action. This is admittedly cheap philosophy, but it works.
I believe in the usefulness of intuitive ideas in entering the tracks of precise concepts. In this paper I try to associate the ideas of classical, bona fide economists of the last two centuries, with the concepts of Thermodynamics...
J. Stepanic jr, H. Stefancic, M. S. Zebec, and K. Perackovic - 2000
Approach to a Quantitative Description of Social Systems Based on Thermodynamic Formalism
Certain statistical aspects of social systems are described by appropriately defined quantities named social potentials. Relations between social potentials are postulated by drawing an analogy with thermodynamics relations between thermodynamic potentials, thus obtaining a toy model of some of the statistical properties of social systems. Within this model, an interpretation of a socially relevant acting (acting as opposed to action) that does not invoke structural changes in social systems, is given in terms of social potentials.
Study of social systems requires the application of statistical methods to their description and gives results of social system research in terms of statistical data. The existence of rich statistics usually, but not necessarily, implies some underlying structure or even dynamics. Bearing in mind the very concept of social systems, it is reasonable to assume the existence of some sort of dynamics describing social systems that leads to the observed statistics. The present level of knowledge of a quantitative description of social systems implies that the formulation of complete and consistent theory is a formidable task...
T. Jackson - 1999
Sustainability and the "struggle for existence". The critical role of metaphor in society's metabolism
This paper presents a historical examination of the influence of the Darwinian metaphor “the struggle for existence” on a variety of scientific theories which inform our current understanding of the world. It attempts in particular to relate this metaphor to the modern search for sustainable development. Starting from a remark made by Boltzmann to the effect that the struggle for existence is the struggle for available energy, the paper follows two specific avenues of intellectual thought which proceeded from that insight. The first avenue leads to the biophysical critique of conventional development popularised by “ecological economists” such as Georgescu-Roegen and Daly. This critique suggests that modern economic systems have gone astray by failing to respect the biological and physical limits to development and that they should be adapted to make them more like ecological systems. The second avenue leads to the modern insights of genetics and evolutionary psychology. It suggests that in fact the economic system is already behaving more or less like an ecological system, driven as it is by evolutionary imperatives. This uncomfortable conclusion suggests far bleaker prospects for sustainable development than is currently recognised. Before bowing to the inevitability of this outlook, however, the paper re-examines the roots of the Darwinian metaphor on which our modern understanding of the world is based, and asks whether or not it may be time to question its legitimacy.
M. Boisot - 2003
Data, Information and Knowledge: have we got it right?
Economists make the unarticulated assumption that information is something that stands apart from and is independent of processors of information and their inherent characteristics. We argue that they need to revisit the distinctions they have drawn between data, information and knowledge. While some associate information with data, others associate it with knowledge. But since few readily associate data with knowledge, this suggests too loose a conceptualisation of the term 'information'. We argue that the difference between data, information and knowledge is in fact crucial. Information theory and the physics of information provide us with useful insights with which to build an economics of information appropriate to the needs of the emerging information economy.
J. Mimkes - 2003
Concepts of Thermodynamics in Economic Systems

Thermodynamics is a statistical theory for large atomic systems under constraints of energy. An economy is a large system of economic agents and goods under the constraints of capital. Both systems may be handled by the Lagrange principle, the law of statistics for large systems under constraints. Thermodynamics and economics are expected to follow the same concept:
1. First law of economics: profit is a non total differential form that depends on the path of acquisition.
2. Second law of economics: The mean capital or standard of living is the integrating factor of profit and leads to the entropy of capital distribution.
3. Third law of economics: work increases capital and reduces capital distribution. (work is related to collecting capital by distributing goods).
Periodic work is always connected to two different economic levels. Periodic production of industry and households leads to the Carnot process of monetary cycles, which determine economic growth. Supply and demand lead to Boltzmann distributions of capital (wealth in Germany 1993), of income (Germany, USA and Japan), and of goods (automobiles in Germany 1998). Social bonds are equivalent to atomic bonds, they are attractive, repulsive or indifferent. Hierarchy, democracy and the global state correspond to solids, liquids and the gas state. Social interactions correspond to chemical reactions: intermarriage of Blacks and Whites in USA, Catholics and Protestants in Germany show the same phase diagrams as the gold – platinum system. In binary systems the Lagrange principle leads to the laws of six different interactions in socio-economic systems: partnership, hierarchy, equality, integration, segregation and aggression.
J. Ramos-Martin, M. Ortega-Cerda - 2003
Non-linear relationship between energy intensity and economic growth
From a thermodynamic point of view economies are open systems far from equilibrium, and neo-classical environmental economics is not the best way to describe the behaviour of such systems. Standard economic analysis takes a continuous, deterministic and predictive approach, which encourages the search for predictive policy to 'correct' environmental problems. This is actually what happens with the relationship between economic growth and energy consumption under the dematerialisation hypothesis, so-called environmental Kuznets curve or the inverted-U shaped curve. Rather, it seems to us that, because of the characteristics of economic systems that may follow complex behaviour, an ex-post analysis under the framework of ecological economics is more appropriate, which describes economies as non continuous and non predictive systems and which sees policy as a social steering mechanism.
With this background, we present some empirical data on energy intensity evolution for both developing and developed countries. In order to test the hypothesis of a de-linking between economic growth and energy use, we apply here phase-diagrams in which the intensity of use of the year t and that of the year t-1 are represented. This will allow us to check the validity of the continuous relationship, or to check the possibility of the existence of a step-wise behaviour, which can be seen at a lower time-scale, as something similar to the idea of “punctuated equilibrium” for the evolution of systems at larger time-scales.
J. van den Bergh - 2000
Themes, Approaches, and Differences with Environmental Economics
A. Alcouffe, S. Ferrari, H. Manusch - 2004
Marx, Schumpeter and Georgescu-Roegen: three conceptions of the evolution of economic systems?
S. Morley, S. Robinson, R. Harris - 1998
Estimating income mobility in Colombia using maximum entropy econometrics
A. Gohin - 2000
Positive Mathematical Programming and Maximum Entropy: economic tools for applied production analysis
V. Chalidze - 2000
Entropy demystified: potential order, life and money

NASA: Earth Observatory
Atmosphere - Oceans - Land - Energy - Life
Global Warming Fact Sheet
MODIS: rapid fire response system
From the
School of Mathematics and Statistics - University of St Andrews, Scotland

History Topics:
Mathematical Physics Index
General relativity
History of Quantum mechanics
Orbits and gravitation
Special relativity
Topology and Scottish mathematical physics
Light: Ancient Greece to Maxwell
Light in the relativistic and quantum era
History of Time: Classic time
History of Time: 20th Century time
Newton's bucket
Wave versus matrix mechanics
Kepler's planetary laws

Mathematics in various cultures

Ancient Babylonian mathematics
Ancient Egyptian mathematics
Ancient Greek mathematics
Arabic mathematics
Chinese mathematics
Indian mathematics
Mayan mathematics
American mathematics
Mathematics in Scotland

Mathematical topics
Overview of the history of mathematics
Numbers and number theory
Geometry and topology
Mathematical physics
Mathematical astronomy
Mathematical education
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Puro Chile la memoria del pueblo
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Director: Róbinson Rojas

De The Róbinson Rojas Archive
Prigogine: el fin de las certidumbres
Por Jorge Palacios C.
Originalmente publicado en La Epoca - Santiago de Chile
12 enero 1997
Prigogine: "La formulación de las leyes físicas debe ser modificada en todos los niveles con el fin de estar de acuerdo con el universo abierto y evolutivo en que viven los humanos"... "cualquiera sea la situación, coexisten una descripción individual (en términos de trayectorias, funciones de onda o campos) y una descripción estadística. Y en todos los niveles, inestabilidad y no integrabilidad rompen la equivalencia entre estas dos descripciones"...
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Puro Chile la mémoire du peuple
Projet pour le Premier Sičcle Populaire
Entropie Sociologie Thermodynamique

Editeur: Róbinson Rojas