Thermodynamic Expression of Economics

Introduction to a Thermodynamic Expression of Economics


First published on May 17, 2019. Last updated on May 23, 2021.

Thermodynamic Expression of Economics provides an exploration of how economic concepts can be expressed in terms of thermodynamic principles. People exist in a physical universe and are themselves comprised of physical matter. Both our  desired and transactions are ultimately expressed in a physical reality. Living organisms and systems are essentially thermodynamic processes. Thermodynamics is the branch of physics that involves the consumption of resources and their transformation into productivity.

What is economics?

“Economics is the social science that studies the choices that individuals, business, governments, and entire societies make as they cope with scarcity, and the incentives that influence and reconcile those choices.”[1]

The term scarcity includes physical constraints such as limited resources. For example, many essential minerals such as copper and gold, are not freely available in unlimited quantities. Neither is water or clean air in many places in the world. Scarcity, in a sense, also involves physical constraints such as efficiency, which is often a matter of life and death for both living organisms and business ventures.

Unsurprisingly, it is possible to express many concepts in economics using thermodynamics. This has the benefit that economic models can be constrained using physics, and physics can provide a deeper understanding of economics.

Further Reading

Thermodynamics, Energy And Thermodynamics, Course.Cafe


  1. Arik Levenson (citing Parkin), Economics 001 Principles of Microeconomics


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