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Old 06-06-2012, 03:38 PM   #1
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Does Matt understand Thermodynamics?

The case against:

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Originally Posted by Niall View Post
Matt seems to have mistaken the economy for a closed system, which it is not. The inputs fluctuate daily and it is where our economy is derived from. There are constantly new sources of wealth flowing in form new mineral discoveries to emerging technologies and the resources that generate the economy occupy many more dimensions tham simple statistical descriptions of exchanges of temperature and pressure, from the direct mineral and resource inputs like oil, gold and food to the more abstract ones like services, taxation, gambling, dissipation of wealth among growing populations and investments.

In a way if you were to cut off all economic inputs and left the economy to simply be an exchange of existing resource, which makes no tangible sense, in a very laisssez faire libertarian regime, I would imagine that wealth would eventually become accumulated by a few and not at all entropic, so even on that level the analogy doesn't work.

Disclosure: I don't understand them!
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:56 PM   #2
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I don't claim to know anything much about economics however. But I know it definitely isn't a good analogy
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:09 PM   #3
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Well, didn't he claim to get bored of books, read the interesting bits, and make up the rest?
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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Somehow this album isn't seeming so "personal" from what we've surmised in the last couple of days.

And I have no clue about thermowhatsits.
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:53 PM   #5
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Probably not. Probably a case of him going 'Oooh cool word' again. But maybe it will make more sense soon.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:04 PM   #6
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No, but then maybe he didn't even write that 30 second psychobabble fauxcast. Maybe, it was just for dramatic effect.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:10 PM   #7
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matt is stupid
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niall View Post
I don't claim to know anything much about economics however. But I know it definitely isn't a good analogy
Bah, don't know how to quote something already quoted. Anyway...

Er, did he claim that there is a direct analogy between 2nd law in thermodynamics and economy? I read a bit of that article you posted in the twitter thread, also what I could find of the book that it was referencing, and I thought the idea is that there is a limit to how much we can use natural resources because of 2nd law, and that is why the endless growth is unsustainable. Sure you get an idea of the lyrics (newsread) he tweeted that energy is running out, but I assume it's a bit hard to put an explanation of thermodynamics into a few sentences that preferably rhyme

I didn't agree with the acopalyptic vibe (?) of the article. Earth is not a closed system.

I presume Matt finds the 2nd law fascinating because it actually says something definite of the whole universe, not just parts of it, i.e. that entropy in the whole universe increases all the time. The problem with that is that there is actually quite a lot of low entropy energy left.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:31 PM   #9
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Matt seems to have mistaken the economy for a closed system, which it is not.
Now thinking about it, economy is a closed system much more than Earth physically. Didn't you mom tell you that money doesn't grow in trees, or fall from heaven? I think that means we don't get it from space
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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Money or wealth is not finite. The economy isn't like a game of Monopoly, where there is a set amount of money. I find it amusing when people bash the rich because they're hogging "all the wealth".
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:53 PM   #11
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Money or wealth is not finite. The economy isn't like a game of Monopoly, where there is a set amount of money. I find it amusing when people bash the rich because they're hogging "all the wealth".
Okay, I'm not an expert on economics but I bought a book called Paper money collapse, which I haven't read yet... Anyway the basic idea is that all money systems based on flexible amount of money have collapsed sooner or later. Our western system was tied to gold reserves until sixties, and relatively stable systems like Germany have always sworn on very low inflation. Basically printing money i.e. causing high rate of inflation kills the monetary system.

Your statement is typical defense for capitalism, but in practise it seems that wealth does accumulate. For I know historically the levels of income have been brutally unevenly distributed, and the 60's -70's era in western countries when wealth distribution seemed relatively fair, i.e. working class had pretty nice standard of living compared to the rich, was an exception. But I don't think thermodynamics help at all understanding that!
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdeboer01 View Post
Money or wealth is not finite. The economy isn't like a game of Monopoly, where there is a set amount of money. I find it amusing when people bash the rich because they're hogging "all the wealth".
Well they could do with spreading it around a bit more whatever the theories.

The idea of unsustainability, as far as I understand, is that if we keep going as we are, we are likely to run out of natural resources or at least make our world a pretty nasty place to live.

Concentration on economic growth above all other considerations encourages indiscriminate use of resources plus practices that cause pollution. This occurs because we place profit and economic growth on a higher pedestal than ecological balance. That is where the link is I think. And it is a definite link.

I suppose it really depends on whether or not we believe natural resources are finite. But maybe Matt is complicating it to sex it up a bit? I suppose we will know more when we get more lyrics.

This is also quite a simplistic post.

I don't know too much about economics, not in depth, or anything about physics for that matter, but I do believe in Green issues, and I also don't accept trickle down theory or economic growth as the be all and end all.

Maybe the analogy if there is one is simply the idea of everything ending up in disorder.
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Last edited by CarrieB; 06-06-2012 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:32 PM   #13
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I think if it's just talking about oil then he's right.

In fact all non-solar energy is eventually going to be bad when humanity's energy consumption reaches a certain point. Almost all of our energy ends up as heat. Even nuclear and some biomass. The only kinds of energy that are truly sustainable are those that do not change to overall entropy of the Earth-Sun system, namely solar and wind, as they are simply altering the path the energy takes into the system rather than adding extra energy to it. Obviously our current nuclear use is a drop in the ocean, especially compared to the greenhouse effect which is a much more immediate concern.

But I don't think Matt was alluding to human energy changes over the next century in those regards.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:47 PM   #14
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Maybe NME are closer to the album theme, that it will be a fictional apocalypse, loosely based on various scientific, economic and ecological theories.

http://www.nme.com/blog/index.php?bl...e_8&more=1&c=1
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:48 PM   #15
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Matt understands the basics, most likely, better than an average layman. He was interested in the idea of resources running out since pre-Absolution, if you remember his rants about chickens and saving water

re: applying 2nd law to economy - there is a whole notion of thermoeconomics trying to see the connection

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Thermoeconomists maintain that human economic systems can be modeled as thermodynamic systems. Then, based on this premise, theoretical economic analogs of the first and second laws of thermodynamics are developed. In addition, the thermodynamic quantity exergy, i.e. measure of the useful work energy of a system, is one 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
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