Thermoeconomics, also referred to as biophysical economics, is a school of heterodox economics that applies the laws of statistical mechanics to economic theory. Thermoeconomics can be thought of as the statistical physics of economic value and is a subfield of econophysics.
Thermoeconomists maintain that human economic systems can be modeled as thermodynamic systems. Thermoeconomists argue that economic systems always involve matter, energy, entropy, and information. Then, based on this premise, theoretical economic analogs of the first and second laws of thermodynamics are developed.
Moreover, many economic activities result in the formation of structures. Thermoeconomics applies the statistical mechanics of non-equilibrium thermodynamics to model these activities. In thermodynamic terminology, human economic activity may be described as a dissipative system, which flourishes by consuming free energy in transformations and exchange of resources, goods, and services.
Thermoeconomics is based on the proposition that the role of energy in biological evolution should be defined and understood not 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.
Business economics is a field in applied economics which uses economic theory and quantitative methods to analyze business enterprises and the factors contributing to the diversity of organizational structures and the relationships of firms with labour, capital and product markets. A professional focus of the journal Business Economics has been expressed as providing "practical information for people who apply economics in their jobs."Business economics is an integral part of traditional economics and is an extension of economic concepts to the real business situations. It is an applied science in the sense of a tool of managerial decision-making and forward planning by management. In other words, business economics is concerned with the application of economic theory to business management. Business economics is based on microeconomics in two categories: positive and normative.
Business economics is concerned with economic issues and problems related to business organization, management, and strategy. Issues and problems include: an explanation of why corporate firms emerge and exist; why they expand: horizontally, vertically and spacially; the role of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship; the significance of organizational structure; the relationship of firms with employees, providers of capital, customers, and government; and interactions between firms and the business environment.Ecodynamics
Ecodynamics is a part of applied economics. It covers knowledge on monetary value, the usage of money and the money flow. It deals with labour, and capital.Ecological economics
Ecological economics (also called eco-economics, ecolonomy or bioeconomics of Georgescu-Roegen) is both a transdisciplinary and an interdisciplinary field of academic research addressing the interdependence and coevolution of human economies and natural ecosystems, both intertemporally and spatially. By treating the economy as a subsystem of Earth's larger ecosystem, and by emphasizing the preservation of natural capital, the field of ecological economics is differentiated from environmental economics, which is the mainstream economic analysis of the environment. One survey of German economists found that ecological and environmental economics are different schools of economic thought, with ecological economists emphasizing strong sustainability and rejecting the proposition that natural capital can be substituted by human-made capital (see the section on Weak versus strong sustainability below).Ecological economics was founded in the 1980s as a modern discipline on the works of and interactions between various European and American academics (see the section on History and development below). The related field of green economics is, in general, a more politically applied form of the subject.According to ecological economist Malte Faber, ecological economics is defined by its focus on nature, justice, and time. Issues of intergenerational equity, irreversibility of environmental change, uncertainty of long-term outcomes, and sustainable development guide ecological economic analysis and valuation. Ecological economists have questioned fundamental mainstream economic approaches such as cost-benefit analysis, and the separability of economic values from scientific research, contending that economics is unavoidably normative rather than positive (i.e. descriptive). Positional analysis, which attempts to incorporate time and justice issues, is proposed as an alternative. Ecological economics shares several of its perspectives with feminist economics, including the focus on sustainability, nature, justice and care values.Economic cost
Economic cost is the combination losses of any goods that have a value attached to them by any one individual. Economic cost is used mainly by economists as means to compare the prudence of one course of action with that of another. The goods to be taken into consideration are e.g. money, time and resources.
The comparison includes the gains and losses precluded by taking a course of action, as those of the course taken itself. Economic cost differs from accounting cost because it includes opportunity cost.Econophysics
Econophysics is an interdisciplinary research field, applying theories and methods originally developed by physicists in order to solve problems in economics, usually those including uncertainty or stochastic processes and nonlinear dynamics. Some of its application to the study of financial markets has also been termed statistical finance referring to its roots in statistical physics. Econophysics is closely related to social physics.Energy economics
Energy economics is a broad scientific subject area which includes topics related to supply and use of energy in societies. Due to diversity of issues and methods applied and shared with a number of academic disciplines, energy economics does not present itself as a self-contained academic discipline, but it is an applied subdiscipline of economics. From the list of main topics of economics, some relate strongly to energy economics:
Computable general equilibrium
Resource economicsEnergy economics also draws heavily on results of energy engineering, geology, political sciences, ecology etc. Recent focus of energy economics includes the following issues:
Climate change and climate policy
Elasticity of supply and demand in energy market
Energy and economic growth
Energy markets and electricity markets - liberalisation, (de- or re-) regulation
Economics of energy infrastructure
Risk analysis and security of supply
SustainabilitySome institutions of higher education (universities) recognise energy economics as a viable career opportunity, offering this as a curriculum. The University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are the top three research universities, and Resources for the Future the top research institute. There are numerous other research departments, companies and professionals offering energy economics studies and consultations.Frederick Soddy
Frederick Soddy FRS (2 September 1877 – 22 September 1956) was an English radiochemist who explained, with Ernest Rutherford, that radioactivity is due to the transmutation of elements, now known to involve nuclear reactions. He also proved the existence of isotopes of certain radioactive elements.Goods and services
Goods are items that are usually (but not always) tangible, such as pens, salt, apples, and hats. Services are activities provided by other people, who include doctors, lawn care workers, dentists, barbers, waiters, or online servers, a book, a digital videogame or a digital movie. Taken together, it is the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services which underpins all economic activity and trade. According to economic theory, consumption of goods and services is assumed to provide utility (satisfaction) to the consumer or end-user, although businesses also consume goods and services in the course of producing other goods and services.Heterodox economics
Heterodoxy is a term that may be used in contrast with orthodoxy in schools of economic thought or methodologies, that may be beyond neoclassical economics. Heterodoxy is an umbrella term that can cover various schools of thought or theories. These might for example include institutional, evolutionary, Georgist, Austrian, feminist, social, post-Keynesian (not to be confused with New Keynesian), ecological, Marxian, socialist and anarchist economics, among others.Economics may be called orthodox or conventional economics by its critics. Alternatively, mainstream economics deals with the "rationality–individualism–equilibrium nexus" and heterodox economics is more "radical" in dealing with the "institutions–history–social structure nexus". Many economists dismiss heterodox economics as "fringe" and "irrelevant", with little or no influence on the vast majority of academic mainstream economists in the English-speaking world.
A recent review documented several prominent groups of heterodox economists since at least the 1990s as working together with a resulting increase in coherence across different constituents. Along these lines, the International Confederation of Associations for Pluralism in Economics (ICAPE) does not define "heterodox economics" and has avoided defining its scope. ICAPE defines its mission as "promoting pluralism in economics."
In defining a common ground in the "critical commentary," one writer described fellow heterodox economists as trying to do three things: (1) identify shared ideas that generate a pattern of heterodox critique across topics and chapters of introductory macro texts; (2) give special attention to ideas that link methodological differences to policy differences; and (3) characterize the common ground in ways that permit distinct paradigms to develop common differences with textbook economics in different ways.One study suggests four key factors as important to the study of economics by self-identified heterodox economists: history, natural systems, uncertainty, and power.Microfoundations
In economics, the microfoundations are the microeconomic behavior of individual agents, such as households or firms, that underpins a macroeconomic theory.Most early macroeconomic models, including early Keynesian models, were based on hypotheses about relationships between aggregate quantities, such as aggregate output, employment, consumption, and investment. Critics and proponents of these models disagreed as to whether these aggregate relationships were consistent with the principles of microeconomics. Therefore, in recent decades macroeconomists have attempted to combine microeconomic models of household and firm behavior to derive the relationships between macroeconomic variables. Today, many macroeconomic models, representing different theoretical points of view, are derived by aggregating microeconomic models allowing economists to test them both with macroeconomic and microeconomic data.Myron Tribus
Myron T. Tribus (October 30, 1921 – August 31, 2016) was an American organizational theorist, who was the director of the Center for Advanced Engineering Study at MIT from 1974 to 1986. He was known as leading supporter and interpreter of W. Edwards Deming, for popularizing the Bayesian methods, and for coining the term "thermoeconomics".Natural capital
Natural capital is the world's stock of natural resources, which includes geology, soils, air, water and all living organisms. Some natural capital assets provide people with free goods and services, often called ecosystem services. Two of these (clean water and fertile soil) underpin our economy and society and make human life possible.It is an extension of the economic notion of capital (resources which enable the production of more resources) to goods and services provided by the natural environment. For example, a well-maintained forest or river may provide an indefinitely sustainable flow of new trees or fish, whereas over-use of those resources may lead to a permanent decline in timber availability or fish stocks. Natural capital also provides people with essential services, like water catchment, erosion control and crop pollination by insects, which in turn ensure the long-term viability of other natural resources. Since the continuous supply of services from the available natural capital assets is dependent upon a healthy, functioning environment, the structure and diversity of habitats and ecosystems are important components of natural capital. Methods, called 'natural capital asset checks', help decision-makers understand how changes in the current and future performance of natural capital assets will impact on human well-being and the economy.Outline of economics
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to economics:
Economics – analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. It aims to explain how economies work and how economic agents interact.Peter Corning
Peter Andrew Corning (born 1935) is an American biologist, consultant, and complex systems scientist, and Director of the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems, in Friday Harbor, Washington, and is known especially for his work on the causal role of synergy in evolution.Price level
The general price level is a hypothetical daily measure of overall prices for some set of goods and services (the consumer basket), in an economy or monetary union during a given interval (generally one day), normalized relative to some base set. Typically, the general price level is approximated with a daily price index, normally the Daily CPI. The general price level can change more than once per day during hyperinflation.Rate of profit
In economics and finance, the profit rate is the relative profitability of an investment project, a capitalist enterprise or a whole capitalist economy. It is similar to the concept of rate of return on investment.Scarcity
Scarcity is the limited availability of a commodity, which may be in demand in the market or by the commons. Scarcity also includes an individual's lack of resources to buy commodities.Schools of economic thought
In the history of economic thought, a school of economic thought is a group of economic thinkers who share or shared a common perspective on the way economies work. While economists do not always fit into particular schools, particularly in modern times, classifying economists into schools of thought is common. Economic thought may be roughly divided into three phases: premodern (Greco-Roman, Indian, Persian, Islamic, and Imperial Chinese), early modern (mercantilist, physiocrats) and modern (beginning with Adam Smith and classical economics in the late 18th century). Systematic economic theory has been developed mainly since the beginning of what is termed the modern era.
Currently, the great majority of economists follow an approach referred to as mainstream economics (sometimes called 'orthodox economics'). Within the mainstream in the United States, distinctions can be made between the Saltwater school (associated with Cornell, Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale), and the more laissez-faire ideas of the Freshwater school (represented by the Chicago school of economics, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Rochester and the University of Minnesota). Both of these schools of thought are associated with the neoclassical synthesis.
Some influential approaches of the past, such as the historical school of economics and institutional economics, have become defunct or have declined in influence, and are now considered heterodox approaches. Other longstanding heterodox schools of economic thought include Austrian economics and Marxian economics. Some more recent developments in economic thought such as feminist economics and ecological economics adapt and critique mainstream approaches with an emphasis on particular issues rather than developing as independent schools.Supply shock
A supply shock is an event that suddenly increases or decreases the supply of a commodity or service, or of commodities and services in general. This sudden change affects the equilibrium price of the good or service or the economy's general price level.
In the short run, an economy-wide negative supply shock will shift the aggregate supply curve leftward, decreasing the output and increasing the price level. For example, the imposition of an embargo on trade in oil would cause an adverse supply shock, since oil is a key factor of production for a wide variety of goods. A supply shock can cause stagflation due to a combination of rising prices and falling output.
In the short run, an economy-wide positive supply shock will shift the aggregate supply curve rightward, increasing output and decreasing the price level. A positive supply shock could be an advance in technology (a technology shock) which makes production more efficient, thus increasing output.
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