We as humans are obsessed with the concept of growth (e perpetual exponential growth). This concept could not have come into existence if it wasn’t for the freely available energy resources (thought to be limitless). However, M.
Hauberk’s prediction that oil reserves behave in a bell curve and that the world’s oil production will peak and drop exponentially, underlines Georges-Rouge’s point that natural resources are indeed limited. M.Slow, acknowledged the laws of entropy (1997, IPPP), but neglected its relevance by stating that “these laws have no substantial consequences for economic analysis”. This, quite rightly was criticized by Herman E. Daly by asserting that these laws do not only apply to the universe as a whole, but to all systems that process mass or energy including economic production & consumption activities and that they have consequences as they rule out the common model of a closed nature independent economy that can grow without limits.Stephen L. Gullet’s point, that free energy is the basic resource (not low entropy) is well put.
But the argument that thermodynamic analysis can identify possibilities for technological developments is not detailed. He cites the example of fuel cells. He ignores the fact that the feasibility of such technology is depends heavily on freely available hydrocarbons (a limited natural resource in a low entopic state fulfilling the sufficient condition of usefulness) that can be broken down to produce hydrogen.This option becomes infeasible for the economy in case the indirect resource of sun’s energy becomes unavailable.
David Fish on the other hand seems to have a casual approach towards inclusion of thermodynamics into economics. His contention that “a conventional critique of growth models that focused on the economics plausibility of over simplified depreciation representations ND the classical economists rent from finite reserves would have been Just as effective”, is missing the point that effects on the environment are cumulative and that they too will impact growth.Rain, Foster & Potts do provide a valid point in their hypothesis “that more highly self-organized ecosystems degrade more of the available energy through the development of sophisticated energy harnessing mechanisms” and also that “economic systems are differentiated by the explicit role of knowledge in the development of structural complexity’.
However, they then conclude that economic system does not reach growth limits as easily as ecology cause of continual innovation facilitated by new knowledge.This is unfounded as the growth in knowledge is relative to current state of knowledge availability and that the potential for innovation might not translate to actual economic growth. Entropy does draw a boundary to remodel economy as a sustainable system (closed system). However, given the same law of entropy, there still will be a constant increase in state of disorder (imaginably gradual but not acute).
And the state of equilibrium between the environment and the economy might only be feasible for a limited period of time. Mime period.